Decisions made at the most recent meeting of the Surrey Heath Borough Council Executive on 7 December included:
Review of parking fees and charges
SHBC’s parking service operates 17 off-street car parks across the borough’s town and village centres to meet economic and community need.
Parking charges help pay for the costs of operating the car parks and the capital investment required to maintain and improve them.
Car parking tariffs have remained unchanged in the Council’s multi-storey car parks since 2014 and since 2009 in the borough wide pay and display car parks, falling significantly behind inflation and putting increasing pressure on council finances.
The Executive was asked to consider proposals to bring pricing back in line with cost of living increases as well as a review of the structure and provision of parking season tickets.
The Executive resolved to defer consideration of the item.
Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council, Cllr Alan McClafferty, said:
“The Executive agreed to defer their consideration of the review of the Council’s car parking charges until the new year to provide more time for consideration and discussion of the options. This will include how the car parks can contribute to the Council’s commitment to tackling climate change, such as supporting the adoption of zero emission vehicles.
“Car parking charges in the two Council-operated multi-storey car parks have been frozen since 2014, and in the Borough-wide pay and display car parks since 2009 despite year-on-year increases in the costs of operating the car parks. This, coupled with a huge increase in demand for services supporting the most vulnerable in our borough, brought on by the pandemic, has made the review necessary.”
The Publication of a First Homes Interim Guidance Note
On 24 May 2021 the Housing Minister made a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament which set out changes to the Planning Practice Guidance including the introduction of First Homes, with effect from 28 June 2021.
First Homes are a specific form of discounted market sale housing that will be available to first time buyers and are to be sold at a minimum discount of 30% below the market value, with a maximum price of £250,000 at the first sale after the discount is applied. The discount is to be retained in perpetuity through a restriction on the Land Registry title. The policy sets out that for planning applications determined after 28 December 2021, at least 25% of all affordable housing units delivered through developer contributions must be First Homes.
Local Planning Authorities are encouraged to make the development requirements for First Homes clear for their area. Policies within the new Local Plan will reflect the requirement for First Homes however as the new Local Plan is not due to be adopted until 2023, it is considered appropriate to publish an Interim Guidance Note. This will make the requirements for First Homes clear to developers and can be in place prior to the requirement for First Homes taking effect for schemes granted permission after 28 December 2021. This guidance note can also be used during pre-application discussions on new housing sites coming forward in the Borough.
The Executive resolved that the update to National Planning Practice Guidance and the introduction of First Homes be noted; the publication of the First Homes Guidance Note, as attached at Annex A to the agenda report, including the local connection criteria for determining eligibility of purchasers be agreed; and the potential resource implications of First Homes be noted.
Calculation and setting of the Council Tax Base for 2022/23
The Council has a duty to set a Tax Base for Council Tax purposes by 31 January each year under Section 67 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. A report asked the Executive for approval of the Authority’s Council Tax Base for 2022/23.
The Executive resolved to note the calculations of the tax base in Annexes A to F summarised below:
Band D Equivalent Properties
Frimley and Camberley 24,626.69
West End 2,393.10
Surrey Heath Borough Council 38,976.17
- that £19,943.44 be given to Parishes in 2022/23 to offset the effect on the tax base of the Local Council Tax Support scheme;
- that, in accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Surrey Heath Borough Council as its Tax Base for the year 2022/23 shall be 38,976.17 Band ‘D’ properties.
The Executive will also recommend to Full Council that with effect from 1 April 2022 the Empty Homes Premium is introduced at the maximum levels allowed in the legislation where the property has been empty for 2, 5 or 10 more years and the Council Tax Exceptional Hardship Policy remains unchanged for 2022/23, and the funds available remain at £80,000.
Urgent Action – Household Support Fund
The Government (Department of Work and Pensions) has set up a scheme called the Household Support Grant, to provide additional funding to vulnerable households over the winter months. This new grant will run until 31 March 2022.
The aim of the grant is to enable Councils to support vulnerable households with the increasing costs of food, energy, water and other essentials.
Citizens Advice Surrey Heath (CASH) are proposed to deliver the scheme on behalf of SHBC in Surrey Heath. A local eligibility framework will be established by SHBC and CASH which will enable CASH to distribute grant funding to the households who are most in need locally.
The scheme requires a quick response to evaluate and turn around the applications promptly.
The Executive resolved to note the urgent action taken under the Scheme of Delegation of Function to Officers.
Review of reports
- The Executive noted the Council’s Finances as at 30 September 2021
- The Executive noted the spend on the Capital Programme 2021/22 for the period 1 April to 30 September 21.
- The Executive noted the Council’s Mid-Year Performance Report.
Access more information on this Executive meeting here https://surreyheath.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=127&MId=3697