Agenda item

Disposal of land at Bensted House, Kiln Court, Osbourne Court and Former SEC, Faversham, ME13 7NY


1.            Mr Oakford advised the committee that the proposed disposal was part of the regular asset disposal programme but was being reported to the committee for comment due to its large financial value. It gave the Council an opportunity both to gain income from the sale and put an end to the ongoing costs of maintaining the premises. 


2.            Mr D’Alton introduced the report and responded to comments and questions from the committee, including the following:-


a)    officers were challenged by the local Member whose electoral division included the site about the lack of engagement with him.  He asked that officers meet him to appraise him of the details of the proposal and the bids received;  


b)    concern was expressed about the choice of preferred bidder named in the report, and discussion followed about the bids received from it and other companies, comparing the level of Section 106 funding each had offered, the number of residential units they each proposed and the percentage of these which would be affordable;


c)    concern was expressed that the recommendation on which the committee was being asked to comment did not name the preferred bidder. Mr D’Alton and Mr Oakford advised that the committee was being asked to endorse or comment on the overarching proposal and delegate to the Director of Infrastructure the selection of the best bid and to finalise the contractual terms of the disposal to secure the best value for money, as was always the aim with any property disposal;


d)    asked if, with the aim of securing best value for money, the Council was able to specify that bidders must include Section 106 funding as part of their bids, Mr D’Alton advised that bidders were expected to include Section 106 funding and not to do so would make their bid less attractive; and


e)    the committee was advised that the County Council was not able to specify the nature of the affordable housing to be included, for example, to be for sale or rental, but that this would fall to the local planning authority to direct when considering a planning application for the site. 


3.            A motion by Mr G Cooke to amend the wording of the recommendation to include the name of the preferred bidder was not seconded.  Mr Watts suggested that Mr Cooke seek to specify instead what he wanted to see covered rather than specify the name of a bidder.


4.            Mr G Cooke then proposed and the Chair, Mr R Thomas, seconded that recommendation 1 in the report be amended to add the words ‘....on the most advantageous terms for the County Council that it is able to secure’. This was agreed with two abstentions.

5.               It was RESOLVED that the decision proposed to be taken by the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services, to agree to the disposal of the sites and delegate authority to:


1.  the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services, to finalise the contractual terms of the disposal, on the most advantageous terms for the County Council that it is able to secure; and


2. the Director of Infrastructure to authorise the execution of necessary contractual and land agreements required to implement the above,


be endorsed.


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