London Borough of Barnet

Agenda and minutes

Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 31st July, 2012 7.00 pm

Venue: Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4AX. View directions

Contact: John Murphy 020 8359 2368 Email: john.murphy@barnet.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes

Minutes:

Resolved that -

 

The decisions of the meeting of the 11 July 2012 be agreed as a correct record

2.

Absence of Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Moore and Councillor Gordon

3.

Declaration of Members' Interests

a)      Personal and Prejudicial Interests

b)      Whipping Arrangements ( in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 17)

Minutes:

None.

4.

Public Question Time (if any)

Minutes:

The committee was informed that public questions were submitted in relation to the Friern Barnet Library; however, the committee were informed that in accordance with Section Four – Public Participation Rules – of the Councils Constitution public questions were not permitted on this item.

 

Public Participation Rules Paragraph 4.1 states that public questions and comments are not permitted on any matter which has been the subject of a decision of any committee in the previous six months. As the status of Friern Barnet Library had been subject to decision by committee within the last six months public questions could not be considered at the meeting.

 

The committee were informed that officers would be providing written responses to the members of the public who had raised questions.

 

5.

Members' Items

(submitted in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 9) (if any)

Minutes:

None.

6.

Any matters Referred by Members of the Committee relating to key decisions made by: pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Cabinet 17th July 2012

Cabinet Resources Committee  17th July 2012 ;or

Any action taken by Cabinet Member(s) and /or Directors/Chief Officers under delegated powers (Executive Functions)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision of the Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance – Sale of the freehold interest in the former Hendon Football Club Ground and adjoining land Claremont Road, Hendon

 

The Committee considered a call-in by Councillor Jack Cohen of the Cabinet Resources Committee decision of 17 July 2012 on the Sale of freehold interest in the former Hendon Football Club ground and adjoining land Claremont Road, Hendon.

 

Two representatives from the London Jewish Girls High School provided comment to the committee outlining the case for supporting the school’s bid to buy the freehold and raising their concerns in relation to the council’s decision to sell to Montclare Ltd.

 

Following the submission of their comments, the representatives from the school provided clarifications and responses to questions raised by the committee.

 

Following the public comments Councillor Jack Cohen addressed the committee stating the reasons for calling in the item as:

 

1)     To ask questions about the status of Montclare Ltd and whether this company has actually made an offer

2)     To seek information whether the three relevant Companies that are Hendon Football Club Ltd, Montclare Developments Ltd and Montclare LTD are insolvent

3)     To ask why the Authority is willing to sell to an under bidder and to ask whether this is lawful

4)     To ask for a detailed response to allegations that Hendon Football Club is in default on its Bank Loan and as a result does not control the destiny of its lease.

5)     To ask whether Barnet should fight the Judicial Review with the potential for huge costs to the Council Taxpayer and in particular to ask the Cabinet Member to tell me  if he has had advice form officers and what advice he has had of the merits of the case and whether he believes fighting the case is a good use of Council Tax payers money.

 

In response to the questions raised by Councillor Jack Cohen the committee were provided with written responses from Councillor Daniel Thomas, the Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance.

 

Councillor Richard Cornelius, the Leader of the Council attended in person accompanied by the Director of Commercial Services, the Director of Corporate Governance, the Valuation Manager and the Principal Valuer, to provide the committee with clarifications to the written answers provided by Councillor Thomas and respond to further questions raised by the committee.

 

In response to questions raised by the committee clarifications were provided in relation to the process of judicial review, the financial status of the concerned parties, consideration of the broader community benefits in relation to the disposals of the leasehold and land, and the decision of the District Valuer in determining best value.

 

Following consideration of the responses provided the Committee decided to refer the decision back to Cabinet Resources Committee for further consideration.

 

Resolved:-

 

  1. That the decision be referred back to Cabinet Resources Committee for reconsideration.

 

  1. That additional information be provided to the Cabinet Resources Committee prior to their reconsideration of the decision in relation to:

 

·   The council’s obligations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Councillor Calls for Action

(Submitted in accordance  with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure  Rule 22) (if any)

Minutes:

None.

8.

Friern Barnet Library Petition pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In accordance with the Constitution’s Public Participation Rules (Council Procedure Rules – Section Four – paragraph 5.1) the Committee received a petition calling for the re-opening of Friern Barnet Library.

 

The lead petitioner addressed the Committee where she called for the decision to be reconsidered. The petitioner provided the Committee with responses to questions regarding her perception of the impact of the library’s closure on the local community including local business.

 

Councillor Pauline Coakley-Webb and Councillor Kate Salinger addressed the Committee in support of the petition stating their concerns in relation to the committee’s procedural rules regarding public participation, the rationale behind the decision to close the library, and the impact of the library closure on the local community.

 

The Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships, Councillor Robert Rams, and the Assistant Director for Customer Services were in attendance to respond to the issues raised including the financial implications of the actions proposed by the petition and the current status of the proposed Landmark Library. 

 

Following an adjournment of the meeting for ten minutes due to a disturbance in the public gallery and the receipt of clarifications from officers regarding the Constitutional procedure for the receipt of petitions the Committee decided to recommend that the petition should be considered by the Cabinet through the Cabinet Member.

 

Resolved that –

 

The Committee recommends that through the Cabinet Member, the Cabinet consider the petition as brought before the Committee

9.

Task and Finish Groups / Overview and Scrutiny Panels - Recommendation Tracking pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to time constraints the Chairman requested that members consider the recommendation tracking report outside committee and forward any comments and questions to the Scrutiny office.

 

Resolved that –

 

The Committee notes the Task and Finish Group Recommendation Tracking Report.

10.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Minutes:

Due to time constraints the Chairman requested that members consider the Cabinet Forward Plan outside committee and forward any comments and questions to the Scrutiny office.

 

Councillor Salinger requested that the committee consider the NSCSO approval of preferred bidder and final business case before a final decision was taken by Cabinet.

 

Resolved that-

 

The committee notes the Forward Plan

11.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to time constraints the Chairman requested that members consider the Committee Work Programme outside committee and forward any comments and questions to the Scrutiny office.

 

Resolved that –

 

The Committee note the Work Programme