Agenda item

The Proposed Development of the Seaway Car Park

The report has been circulated with the Cabinet Agenda for its meeting on 17th January 2019. The relevant Minute and report has been referred direct to the Policy & Resources Scrutiny Committee for consideration.


The Committee considered Minute 605 of Cabinet held on 17th January 2019, which had been referred direct to the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee together with a report of the Strategic Director (Finance and Resources) reviewing the proposed Development of the Seaway Car Park and associated land and the Agreement for Lease and Sale dated 10th December 2014 made between the Council and Turnstone Southend Limited. The preamble to Minute 605 sets out assurances given by the Strategic Director (Finance and Resources) as to the financial advantages of the Development and that independent experts have certified that the terms represent best consideration for the Council pursuant to S.123 Local Government Act 1972.


The report dealt with the proposed Development in the context of the Council’s land ownership, regeneration and economic development responsibilities.  It was noted that whilst the strategic planning context was mentioned in the report, the planning application recently submitted for the Development (Ref: 18/02302/BC4M) must be considered quite separately by the Council as local planning authority through the Development Control Committee.


The Strategic Director (Legal & Democratic Services) drew attention to the following:


(a)  Answers to a series of questions from Councillor Ayling which had been circulated to all Councillors on 25 and 29 January 2019, including the provision of additional information from Savills and the DVS;

(b)  A letter from Homes England that had been tabled, confirming that their position is fairly represented in the report to Cabinet; and


(c)    The legal position has been examined and the full Savills Report cannot be disclosed since it contains confidential and commercially sensitive information which would be very damaging to the economic interests to a number of parties if disclosed. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has previously decided that the Council was entitled to withhold disclosure of confidential information relating to the Development and this ICO decision is clearly a material consideration.

However (and this is most important), comprehensive independent valuation advice has been supplied to all Councillors which provides the necessary information to make a decision on the matter, namely:


·      Savills Report on Best Consideration for the Agreement for Lease dated 21 November 2018 (Appendix 4 to the Cabinet report) which was supplied in a specific format which could be considered by Councillors;

·      The full DVS Valuation Review dated 21 December 2018 which was circulated to all Councillors on 25 January 2019;

·      Supplementary letter from Savills dated 24 January 2019 which was circulated to all Councillors on 25 January 2019; and

·      Further letter from the DVS dated 25 January 2019 which was circulated to all Councillors on 25 January 2019.

In answer to a question, the Cabinet Member for Growth confirmed that the valuation of the Seaways Car Park Development has been undertaken on the basis of leisure /tourism uses. This is because it has been a long term Council ambition for the site to be developed for such uses, as the strategic planning and economic sections of the Cabinet report (and the Appendices) set out. Against this background the Council has not sought to simply maximise value by pursuing the most lucrative form of use, for example high density residential development. Instead the Council has sought to achieve the best form of development for the Town, residents and visitors, with a significant number of new jobs created: In that sense the site has been devalued to reflect the leisure/tourism uses.




1.         That the following decisions of Cabinet be noted:


“1. That it be noted, that unless either party takes a decision to terminate, the Agreement for Lease and Sale dated 10 December 2014 made between the Council and Turnstone Southend Limited (“the Agreement”)  for the development of the Seaway Car Park and associated land (“the Development”) remains in full legal force. 


2. That the Council does not seek to terminate the Agreement at the present time, but maintains its support for the Development based on the strong and viable economic case, the fresh independent valuations under S.123 Local Government Act 1972, the contribution to the Council’s published Ambition and Outcomes, the level of commitment (including investment) made by Turnstone and the progress which has been made to date.


3. That the contractual ‘End Date’ of 10 December 2018 be extended to 17 January 2020 for the discharge of all conditions (including obtaining planning permission) in the Agreement to be dealt with so that the Lease can be granted.  Under the Lease, practical completion is then required within 3 years of granting the Lease which necessitates an early start on site. 


4. That amendments be made to the Agreement as set out in section 5.8 of the submitted report, including the extension of time referred to in recommendation 3 above, on the basis of the fresh valuations referred to in sections 6.2 (e) and 9.2 and attached at Appendices 4 and 5 to the report.


5. That the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Group Leaders and the Cabinet Member for Growth, be authorised to make further minor amendments to the Agreement if required.


6. That the agreements with Homes England in relation to 1-3 Herbert Grove, 29 Herbert Grove and the Rossi Factory (31 Herbert Grove) as set out in section 5.11 of the report be completed.”


2.     That in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 39, the matter be referred to Council for decision.


Note: This is an Executive Function

Cabinet Member: Cllr Courtenay

Supporting documents:


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