Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Seeking approval to transfer the site for redevelopment as a Free Special School
16.1 The Lead Member considered a report by the Chief Operating Officer.
16.2 The Lead Member RESOLVED to (1) enter into a legal agreement for ESCC to accept a surrender of the current 125 year leasehold interest held over two Ark Helenswood Academy school sites – known as Upper and Lower sites;
(2) authorise the simultaneous re-grant of a new 125 year interest on the Lower school site to Ark Alexandra;
(3) declare the Helenswood Upper site surplus to requirements to County Council functions and enter into the simultaneous transfer of the County Council’s freehold of the Upper site to the Secretary of State, to facilitate the provision of a new Free special school - with ESCC retaining clawback and overage benefits on future land sales or development for non-education uses; and
(4) Delegate authority to the Chief Operating Officer to conclude terms in accordance with s. 123 of the Local Government Act 1972.
16.3 The County Council has been very supportive of, and has sought to facilitate, the evolving changes arising from the Ministerial decision to merge the Helenswood and William Parker colleges. In addition it has supported the Department in their delivery issues for their Free school requirements where possible.
16.4 Against this background, there has been no desire by the County Council to accept, nor impose, risk or any financial burden on its own taxpayers by taking back the full risks of an empty school, its buildings and/or wider site. The proposal to transfer the freehold for a nominal figure, but with future clawback, is assessed against the current value of the County Council’s interest (freehold but subject to a 125 year lease at the rent of a peppercorn). Whilst it is normal practice to consider the value released by reconfiguring /releasing legal interests (often known as marriage value) this is offset against the high cost, and risks, if the site were returned fully to County Council control.
Report author: Kevin Foster
Publication date: 31/03/2021
Date of decision: 20/09/2019
Decided at meeting: 20/09/2019 - Lead Member for Resources
Effective from: 28/09/2019