IRVINE, 2 June 2004 - At a Meeting of the Property Services Committee of North Ayrshire Council at 2.00 p.m.
Samuel Taylor, John Bell, Ian Clarkson, Margie Currie, Anna Donn, Drew Duncan, Jane Gorman, Margaret McDougall, Elizabeth McLardy, Margaret Munn, David O'Neill, Robert Rae and Nan Wallace.
B. Devine, Chief Executive; T. Orr, Corporate Director, J. Paul, Head of Technical Services, R. Small, Head of Roads, J. Currie, Head of Cleansing, Grounds Maintenance and Transport, O. Clayton, Head of Housing and M. Cashmore, Principal Officer Management Systems Support (Property Services); P. Doak, Finance Manager (Finance); S. Bale and A. Sobieraj, Corporate and Democratic Support Officers (Chief Executive's).
Councillor Taylor in the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
Jacqueline Browne, Stewart Dewar, John Reid and Richard Wilkinson.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 21 April 2004, copies of which had previously been circulated, were confirmed.
2. Property Services Standing Sub Committee
Submitted the annexed report (Appendix PS1) being the Minutes of the Meeting of the Property Services Standing Sub Committee held on 19 May 2004.
The Committee agreed to approve the Minutes.
3. Housing Supply and Availability
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on Council houses let during 2003/04 and overall stock levels.
The efficient management of void houses is a key objective within the Service Plan for Housing Services 2004/2007. New working practices and service initiatives have reduced relet times. The number of vacant houses has remained relatively stable at around 1500, which currently represents an average of 9% of the housing stock. There are, however, particular areas where there is low or no demand for houses.
On 3 March 2004 the Committee, following an option appraisal process, approved a series of measures to deal with areas of low demand within Bourtreehill, Ardeer and Springside, including the demolition of various properties and the redevelopment of the areas. These measures inevitably reduce the number of houses which are available for rent.
The Service Plan aims to improve information to applicants for rehousing. It is proposed that information will be made available to tenants in the form of a property register on housing turnover, the available housing for rent within their areas of choice and the potential waiting times.
The Committee agreed (a) to approve the provision of enhanced information to housing applicants as detailed in the report; and (b) to refer the matter to the Property Services Standing Sub Committee for more detailed discussion and consideration.
4. Owner Occupied Properties in Areas Subject to Redevelopment or Demolition
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on proposed compensation for owner occupiers in areas subject to redevelopment or demolition.
On 3 March 2004 the Committee agreed, following an option appraisal process undertaken by Housing Services within areas of low demand, to demolish properties at Lundholm Road, Stevenston, Towerlands Gate, Irvine and Springhill Terrace, Springside. It was also agreed that the Committee receive a report at a future meeting on compensation for owner occupiers.
There are no owner occupiers affected by the proposal for Springhill Terrace, Springside. Those affected are one non-resident owner in Lundholm Road, Stevenston and three owner-occupiers in Towerlands Gate, Irvine, one being non-resident. It is proposed that the Council progress negotiations with the owners and that an agent be appointed to negotiate a purchase price for each property. It is anticipated that the price paid would be no less than the District Valuer's assessment of the properties' market value at a point prior to the decision being taken to demolish these properties. It is also proposed that owners currently living within properties subject to demolition will be offered re-housing within the Council housing stock under the "Special Case Development" status within the Housing Allocation Policy. They will be offered property of a similar size and type and will be eligible for a home loss payment of £1,500 and a disturbance payment to assist with meeting removal costs. The full financial implications of these proposals will be dependent on the value attached to the properties.
The Committee agreed to approve the proposals for compensation as detailed above.
5. Proposed Service Level Agreement with Lowmac Alloys Ltd
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on the proposed Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the Council and Lowmac Alloys Ltd for the recycling of civic amenity waste.
The key requirements within the Scottish Executive's National Waste Plan 2003 include:-
Increasing the amount of waste collected by local authorities which is recycled or composted to 25% by 2006;
Reducing the landfilling of biodegradable waste collected by local authorities to 1.5 million tonnes per year by 2006; and
Complying with the EU Directive to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste being sent to landfill.
The Executive proposes to limit the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste and to set landfill allowances for each Council. Currently the Council's civic amenity waste is generated from 4 sites and this represents approximately 15% of municipal waste. During 2003/04 the Council arranged with Lowmac Alloys Ltd that civic amenity waste collected from the Largs Haylie Brae and the Kilbirnie Paddockholm Skip Sites be delivered to that company for processing. A recycling rate of at least 60% was required and 66% was achieved.
It is proposed, following the success of the trial, to enter into a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Lowmac Alloys Ltd for 5 years from August 2004 until August 2009 for the delivery of civic amenity waste from the sites at Largs and Kilbirnie to Lowmac Alloys Ltd for recycling.
The waste which is delivered to Lowmac Alloys Ltd and is not recycled is returned to the Council for disposal. Based on 6,000 tonnes of civic amenity site waste with one third of this not being recycled, the company will be paid for the receipt of 4,000 tonnes at £25 per tonne totalling approximately £100,000 per annum. Of this figure, £60,000 will be saved from Landfill Tax leaving a net cost of £40,000 to be met by the Council. This will be offset by savings in Landfill Tax achieved through the SLA for five years between the Council and Nobel Enterprises for the composting of green waste.
The Committee agreed that the Council enter into a Service Level Agreement with Lowmac Alloys Ltd for a period of five years from August 2004 to August 2009 for the recycling of civic amenity waste from the sites at Largs and Kilbirnie on the terms detailed in the report.
6. Adoption of Roads from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on the number of roads adopted by the Council during the period 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004 resulting in additional maintenance responsibility for 1809 lineal metres.
7. Arran: Whiting Bay: A841 Port Mor Seawall: Upgrading: Phase 2
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on the proposed negotiation for the second phase of the upgrading of the A841 Port Mor Seawall at Whiting Bay, Arran.
Phase 1 of the project was completed during 2003/04. Phase 2 will complete the upgrading of the parapet of the seawall supporting the A841 coast road in front of the Cooper Angus Caravan Park at Port Mor in Whiting Bay and extend the footpath to the southern boundary of the village.
It is proposed that the existing contract for Phase 1 be extended by negotiation with the local contractor John Thomson Construction. This should result in a contract based on existing rates plus a nominal inflationary increase and will enable the contract to commence during September and October 2004, immediately following the peak tourist season. Provision for the small increase in costs has been made in the 2004/05 capital budget.
The Committee agreed to approve the negotiation of a tender with the existing contractor John Thomson Construction, for Phase 2 of the Upgrading of the A841 Port Mor Seawall, Whiting Bay, Arran.
8. Irvine Cable TV Network
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on proposals for the continuation of the Irvine Cable TV Network.
The former Irvine Development Corporation made arrangements for television signals to be transmitted to its tenants' properties from an underground cable system. The system's infrastructure is owned by BT which leases the system to Metro Cable TV Ltd. Several thousand dwellings in the Irvine New Town area continue to receive signals through this system including around 1,500 Council tenants and a similar number of tenants of Irvine Housing Association. The Council and the Housing Association pay the company an annual service charge for the provision of the standard relay package. The Council meets this charge from its general rental income from tenants.
The current agreement with Metro Cable TV Ltd has continued on a year to year basis for the last two years. Metro Cable TV Ltd has offered to extend the current agreement for a further two years from 1 October 2004 on the present financial terms and conditions.
It is proposed that the present agreement with the company be extended for this period. This expenditure will be met from the Housing Revenue Account. The ongoing financial implications for the Council will be reviewed as part of the 2005/06 budget process.
The Committee agreed to approve the extension of the current agreement with Metro Cable TV Ltd for a further two years on the existing terms and conditions.
9. Maintenance of Four Junior Football Grounds
Submitted report by the Corporate Director (Property Services) on a request to transfer the maintenance of four junior football grounds from the Council's Grounds Maintenance Section to the Junior Football Clubs.
The Council's Grounds Maintenance section, currently maintains five junior football pitches, on behalf North Ayrshire Leisure Limited. This contract expires on 30 September 2004.
North Ayrshire Leisure Limited has approached the Council requesting that the maintenance of the following four parks be transferred to the relevant Junior Football Clubs prior to 30 September 2004:-
Ladeside Park, Kilbirnie;
Merksworth Park, Dalry;
Ardeer Park, Stevenston; and
Barrfields Park, Largs
The Council currently provides £24,000 (increased for inflation annually) for the maintenance of the parks and would lose the income as the value of this work is in excess of this sum. Any transfer of maintenance would have a detrimental effect on the Grounds Maintenance section, which is currently examining alternative sources of work to balance a shortfall in its income and may lead to the loss of 2 posts. The Grounds Maintenance Section would also require in terms of the lease to ensure that the Junior Football Clubs and North Ayrshire Leisure Ltd maintain the grounds to a suitable standard.
The Committee agreed to refuse the request from North Ayrshire Leisure Limited for the transfer of the maintenance of four parks to the Junior Football Clubs prior to 30 September 2004.