Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to approve to transfer the land at Danley Road, Sheppey to MHCLG and delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to take necessary actions, included but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision.
Whilst the transfer of sites to the Minister for Communities Housing and Local Government (MHCLG) for Free Schools is a delegated and established practice, in view of the land matters for this particular site a decision is sought from the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services.
The County Council will need to transfer the land to allow the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver a new special school.
KCC own the site at Danley Road Sheerness which was the site of the former Danley Middle School.
Part of the former KCC school site was transferred to the Governing Body of Halfway Houses Primary School in 2016. The land now being considered for transfer to MCHLG will be developed for a SEND School by the Department for Education (DfE). Upon transfer of the land by KCC and development of the site by DfE, DfE will grant a 125-year lease to the SABDEN Multi-Academy Trust. The School is proposed to open September 2022.
The new school will be delivered by the DfE Free Schools team to meet an increasing demand for special school places on the Isle of Sheppey. A bid was submitted by KCC in 2018 for Wave 2 of the Special and Alternative Provision Free Schools Programme. Notification was received in March 2019 that the bid had been successful, and discussions have been held with DfE over the site area to be transferred. The DfE undertook feasibility studies and consulted with KCC over the proposed site layout.
The proposal is that KCC will initially retain the area of land shown hatched green which includes the access road to the site, shown brown. It has been agreed that KCC will not dispose of any of the hatched green land, until after the development of the new free school.
The proposed terms of the transfer of the land at Danley Road (red land) from KCC to MHCLG include a right of access over the access road, with a covenant for MHCLG to pay a reasonable proportion of the total costs incurred of the repair, maintenance, and/or replacement of the access road on a user basis to be agreed between the parties. This clause will mirror the obligations and rights agreed with the Governing Body of the Halfway Houses Primary School in their 2016 Transfer Agreement.
The land would be transferred to MHCLG subject to a restrictive covenant which would restrict the use of the site for educational purposes only.
If the development of the site for the SEND school by DfE has not commenced within 7 years of completion of the transfer from KCC to MHCLG, the land would be transferred back to KCC for £1.
Terms are currently being finalised with the DFE in respect of the land arrangements should the site not be required for educational use within 30 years.
Options (other options considered but discarded)
KCC to retain the freehold of the land and grant the DfE a Free School model 125-year lease of the site. As with other recent land transactions for school sites between KCC with MHCLG and DfE, the DfE will not accept anything other than the terms of their standard model lease when taking sites for schools. The DfE Model form of lease leaves KCC with ongoing risk and liabilities and thus is not acceptable to KCC.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: Sheppey;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/02/2021
Decision due: Not before 24th Feb 2021 by Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services
Reason: Significant but non-key
Lead director: Rebecca Spore
Department: Strategic & Corporate Services
Mr Pugh and Mr Booth, local Councillors for the Sheppey Division were advised 10th Feb 2020 regarding Licence for works to DfE and an email advising of the transfer was sent 15th September 2020.
Consultation with Property Sub-Committee planned on 26 February 2021
Financial implications: KCC are transferring the land for £1 and both parties will bear their own professional costs associated with the Transfer. KCC may be able to identify surplus land once the development of the new SEND school is complete. If surplus land is identified upon completion of the school development, KCC may be able to dispose of land at best value and obtain a capital receipt. If surplus land is identified, KCC would endeavour to transfer all of its’ retained land in order to avoid any future maintenance liabilities.
Legal implications: The land would be transferred to MHCLG with freehold title. Invicta Law have not identified any impediments to transferring the land. They have been consulted on the terms of the transfer agreement and are drafting the necessary agreements.
Equalities implications: It is not felt that granting of this represents any impact on any of the nine areas specified by KCC under its Equality Impact Assessments. No detailed EqIA completed based on clear lack of impact.