Issue - meetings
Meeting: 30/03/2021 - Cabinet (Item 8)
Cabinet received a report regarding proposed capital works and a new lease at Vale Retail Park in Aylesbury.
1. That the Service Director for Property and Assets be authorised, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Property and Assets and S151 Officer, to finalise and agree the emerging Heads of Terms with the retailer set out in the confidential appendices of this report and subsequently to finalise, agree, exchange and complete the lease documentation;
2. That the Service Director for Property and Assets be authorised, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Property and Assets and S151 Officer, to arrange a loan from Public Works Loan Board to deliver the enabling works in accordance with the report considered in the confidential appendices and the Heads of Terms set out there; and
3. That the longer term strategic option to bring the site forward for residential development as part of the emerging plans for Aylesbury Town Centre be noted
(Note: More housing would improve the housing mix with more affordable and bring residents into the town centre to support local businesses. Consideration will be given to include the site in the new Local Buckinghamshire Plan. The site could also be considered for other uses for example leisure or offices to potentially release other sites for residential development in the town centre.)
John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Property and Assets, introduced the report and informed Members that the Vale Retail Park had been acquired by the County Council in 2015. The property had suffered from the recession in retail and the move to online shopping, along with other retail assets. This has resulted in several tenants not renewing leases or entering administration and ultimately leading to a loss of income and increase in voids.
With the onset of the recession in retail, work had been ongoing on potential lettings to replace the retailers lost on the retail park as well as considering other options for the site. A suitable long term tenant had been identified but the terms of the deal would require enabling works to achieve a full market rent. This would include undertaking capital works to the property to reconfigure the existing retail space, providing a shell-and-core unit ready for the tenant to take occupation and undertake their fit-out. Outline details of the enabling work, their cost and anticipated levels of return were included in the confidential appendices.
The proposed works and letting would deliver a high-quality covenant, reduce existing budget pressure by creating a secure income stream and raise the profile of the Retail Park, improving the prospects of further lettings of the remaining units to high-quality covenants at a full market rent.
At the same time, consideration had been given to the opportunity to bring forward the site for residential development. Such a development could create approximately 148 market flat units and 49 affordable flat units. However, for reasons provided in the confidential appendices it was recommended not to pursue this course at this time.
As the residual value of the site was likely to increase in the future, with an appropriate planning consent for residential, the site would then likely be viable for residential development. The longer-term aspiration for the site was to bring it forward for residential development as part of the evolution of the Aylesbury Town Centre to support the provision of affordable housing and the support of businesses within the town centre. Alternatively, other uses could be considered for the site such as offices or leisure which might release other sites in the town centre for market and affordable housing. Work had been done on the residential development viability and comparisons were set out in the appraisals considered in the confidential appendices.
The meeting then agreed item 10 and went into private session to discuss the confidential appendices set out in item 11. Following a comprehensive confidential discussion, the meeting returned to public session and the recommendations were agreed as follows:
(1) That the Service Director for Property and Assets be authorised, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Property and Assets and S151 Officer, to finalise and agree the emerging Heads of Terms with the retailer set out in the confidential appendices of this report and subsequently to finalise, agree, exchange and complete the lease documentation.
(2) That the Service Director ... view the full minutes text for item 8