Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


To receive any declarations of interest not included in the register of interest from Members in respect of items of business included on the agenda for this meeting.


Cllr Jim Morgan declared for transparency that he was one of the Local Ward Members for the Farmstead Drive Development.


Matters also considered by the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 32 KB

Additional documents:



a)     Farmstead Drive, Spitals Cross, Edenbridge – Development


Cllr. Thornton moved and Cllr. Maskell seconded the recommendation from Cabinet. The report sought that the total project budget be increased by £2,741,785 to £10,351,405 in the Capital Programme to deliver the scheme which would be funded as detailed in the financial implications.


Cllr. Thornton spoke to the motion giving an update to the project which was previously approved by Full Council in November 2021. Since then economic and market related factors had impacted the previously agreed budget and an increase in the budget was required to deliver the scheme. Detailed consideration had been given to the report by Finance & Investment Advisory Committee (FIAC) on 5 September 2023 and by Cabinet on 19 September 2023. It was noted that the scheme was marginally viable but provided much needed housing and significant community benefits, including a new community hall, play area, landscaping and additional parking. These changes had been brought about through extensive public consultation, including through the planning permission process and land appropriation. Stakeholders views had been heard and changes made to the plans recognising the significant benefits to the local residents.


She further spoke to the motion stating that she was reassured that answers had been provided to previously asked questions regarding, viability, affordable housing, and the procurement process undertaken for the appointment of the contractor. Due diligence had been appropriately considered and dealt with and there was an additional funding of £375,000 from the brownfield land release fund. Stringent financial due diligence checks had been carried out on the contractor during the procurement process and there were further assurances by the fixed construction lump sum price, insurance cover and additional safeguards within the contract arrangements.


The Leader advised that due to the recent global and economic market events, and scheme design changes following stakeholder involvement, this had eroded the contingency and profit conditions resulting in the delivery of affordable housing becoming unavailable. Amendments to the scheme had ensured the project was marginally financially viable. She was pleased to learn that Quercus Housing were considering the purchase of two units for affordable housing. Due to the changes it was important to note that the cost of the scheme would be prohibitive for private developers and therefore the Council was able to develop it for the benefit of the local community. It would ensure sustainability, local housing needs, accessible spaces, as well as a parking scheme for the wider estate and this was all provided by the Council’s own finances. The development would have significant community and social benefits which overall outweighed the weakness of the financial viability.


Members discussed the motion and some Members expressed their support for the scheme noting the community benefits with parking, open spaces and new community hall and welcomed the news that Quercus were considering two units for affordable housing. Other Members expressed their concern at the lack of affordable housing, and in response other Members questioned where the additional money would come from to cover  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


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