Decision Maker: Executive, Council
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The report sets out the options appraisal for the Council accommodation at Rennes House including setting out the challenges of attempting to implement the previous decisions made by Members.
The Executive received the options report for Rennes House, which outlined the significant challenges that had emerged since the decision to refurbish the building had been taken in 2018 in particular the escalated costs of implementing the previous decision as well as the requirements of the imminent Building Safety Bill. Members were requested to reconsider the decision taken in 2018 and to consider the option to demolish and re-provide homes. It was highlighted that the option of demolishing and re-providing would support a more comprehensive re-development in the local area with the consented Vaughan Road development and the fairly recently developed Chester Long Court.
Particular reference was made to the residents at Rennes House, who had been notified that a direction was being sought on the proposals. Officers would continue to engage with residents following the Members’ decision and a full financial viability assessment would be undertaken including a discussion with Homes England on the opportunity for grant funding and which would be reported back to Members.
In response to a question raised by a Member, the Asset Management Lead explained that, of the 61 properties available in Rennes House, 11 were being kept empty awaiting Members’ decision and officers were confident that a plan would be developed to accommodate the occupants of the remaining 50 properties.
The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Council Housing Development and Services welcomed the detailed report and considered it was a good opportunity to develop housing in the area. Residents in the area were a community, and re-housing must work to ensure that care was given to keeping the community together.
RECOMMENDED that Council:-
(1) note the issues that have arisen in implementing the previously agreed decision to refurbish Rennes House including the significant increase in cost to undertaking such work;
(2) note the compliance and Health & Safety obligations that the Council would be required to undertake following implementation of the Building Safety Bill, which would be significant and challenging and potentially unachievable with the building in its current condition or if only refurbished in line with the previous decision by Members;
(3) reconsider the way forward and, in particular, to consider whether Demolish and Re-provide is more feasible to ensure a greater benefit to both residents and the community and as the most cost effective option when considered over the lifetime of the building; and
(4) agree to receive a report, setting out the financial viability appraisal and confirmation of funding arrangements, including the potential of external (Homes England) grant funding and the revision of the capital investment programme to accommodate the preferred option, which would include some re-prioritisation or delays to other capital work streams.
Report author: Adrian Pengelly
Publication date: 12/01/2022
Date of decision: 11/01/2022
Decided at meeting: 11/01/2022 - Executive