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The Director of Law to report any changes to the membership.
1.1 It was noted that Councillor Ian Adams had replaced Councillor Richard Holloway.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations by Members and Officers of the existence and nature of any personal or prejudicial interests in matters on this agenda.
2.1 There were no declarations made.
Report of the Executive Director, Growth Planning and Housing.
3.1 The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting and explained its context, what a call in of a decision means, the scope of what could be scrutinised and the options available to the committee. He explained that one of the reasons why members requested an opportunity to scrutinise the decision was that it had been taken around the Christmas break and it had been difficult to obtain answers from officers on issues raised by residents and organisations.
3.2 The Chairman further explained that following the request to call-in the decision he had asked officers to prepare a paper on the subject showing how the decision sits in the overall Garden Bridge project and on the context of the decisions that are being reviewed.
3.3 Ed Watson, Executive Director for Growth, Planning and Housing, summarised the key elements in the committee paper. He notified the committee that the period by which the Garden Bridge Trust has to implement the planning consents had not yet started and that they should therefore ignore paragraph 14.1.2 of the report. He also explained that the dates in the leases by which GBT must start and complete works could be extended by the Council if it so wishes but that this was not a current proposition.
3.4 Councillor Robert Davis. MBE, DL, Cabinet Member for The Built Environment, addressed the Committee. He explained that the decision was taken just prior to Christmas as it had taken a number of months until both he and Councillor Mitchell were happy with the report. They had seen a number of earlier versions that they had not been entirely satisfied with and wanted additional legal advice to ensure that the Council’s interests were protected and its liabilities were limited as far as possible.
3.5 Councillor Tim Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services addressed the Committee. He clarified that the decision taken related to assembling the various interests around the acquisition and appropriation of land between the City Council and Transport for London. This would inform a further Cabinet Member report on disposing the land to GBT.
3.6 Members of the Committee then asked questions about various aspects of the decision taken by the Cabinet Members.
3.7 Members asked why the City Council should use its powers to facilitate the building of the bridge. The committee asked for details of the benefits that the scheme would deliver for the City of Westminster. Reference was made to the fact that in the examples where the Council had previously used such powers (Annex 2) these related to projects for the benefit of the Council.
3.8 Sarah Tanburn, Interim Head of Place Shaping, advised that it was open to the authority not to facilitate the land assembly to enable the bridge to be built. However, she stated that if it would not be unusual for a project of this kind for a local authority to use powers where the requester had done everything that it could to obtain the land ... view the full minutes text for item 3.