Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access

Contact: David Cook  01628 796560

Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence


There were no apologies of absence received.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest from Cabinet.


Cllr Hill declared an interest on the Broadway Car Park report as he had a property opposite.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 350 KB

To consider the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2020.


RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 17 December 2020 were approved.






Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider the Forward Plan for the period February 2021 to May 2021.


Cabinet considered the contents of the Forward Plan for the next four months and noted the changes made since last published, including:


·         Position Statement on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Design to February 2021 Cabinet.

·         AFC Reserved Matter to March 2021 Cabinet.

·         Housing Strategy moved to March 2021 Cabinet.


Cabinet Members' Reports


Library Transformation Strategy 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 6 MB


Cabinet considered the report regarding the proposed Library Transformation Strategy going to public consultation.


The Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident and Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management and Windsor informed Cabinet that the Library Transformation Strategy would contribute to and support the Corporate Transformation Strategy by helping to build a “Community Centric Borough of Opportunity and Innovation” while achieving essential savings for the Council.


She informed that up until the start of the pandemic, more people visited libraries than attended Premier League football games, the cinema, and the top 10 UK tourist attractions combined. Maidenhead Library regularly had more than a thousand visits a day.  The under 24 demographic had the highest usage prior to Lockdown. Visits and loans increased every month when compared to the same month of the previous year, with almost a million visits and over 700,000 loans in 2019-20.


Cabinet were also informed that the Royal Borough’s library service was the first RBWM council service to introduce many innovations such as tablets, wifi, interactive webpages, social media, interactive facilities, extensive volunteer programmes including one for teenagers and virtual reality,  The service had a dedicated fantastic team. The “Digi-offer” was expanded within the initial Lockdown and online events had been held, the last event had over 300 virtual attendees. 


The report contained draft saving proposals with decisions not taken lightly, it was therefore important that people take part in the consultation.


The Chairman said he was pleased to see a transformation strategy being presented as it showed that the administration continued to push forward new thinking, new ways of working and better smarter delivery of services. Going forward we are committed to delivering a comprehensive library service for the future we are also committed to ensuring that we infuse that with the highest degree of creative thinking innovative thinking and transformational thinking to make sure that the service remains relevant not only for the coming decade but beyond that as well without losing sight of the core principles and indeed the core fundamentals and values of the library service particularly looking to cater for those most vulnerable in society.  The strategy is  by the needs to not only to keep the service relevance in the post Covid world but also to keep us at the vanguard of clever and creative thinking.


The Lead Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside informed that she felt that this was a  fantastic paper and that it was really important to ask the community and the residents about this transformation strategy.  It was important to hear their views as we had found out with the climate change strategy and budget consultations.  She was a great believer in the importance of libraries and how they could also help with sustainability.  They were fantastic in reaching our communities and the staff were wonderful.


The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed that the pandemic had shown the drive of residents who had worked so hard.  This transformation strategy showed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a


Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Public Libraries Opening Hours Reduction / Closures pdf icon PDF 530 KB


Cabinet considered the report regarding the results of the recent consultation and its implementation. 


The Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident and Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management and Windsor informed Cabinet that the report for consideration was regarding library opening hours following the delayed public consultation.  On 25 February 2020 the budget was passed and it was agreed to conduct a public consultation to reduce library opening hours in order to make a saving of £145,000.  It was also proposed to close Eton library and closing one of the container stops. 


The consultation had to be delayed due to the pandemic and went live in September 2020 for 12 weeks.  She was pleased to say that there were 1850 responses which was the highest for any consultation undertaken by the Royal Borough.   The consultation had been extensive using a variety engagement methods.   The results had been used to adapt the original proposals and this included later opening times and weekend opening hours.  It was clear that those who used the service appreciated the offer.   The digital offer was praised, but residents also appreciated being able to browse books.  Our libraries ranked third in the country for visits per 100,00 per head of population. 


Cllr Jones informed that she wished to comment on the feedback from Old Windsor that showed they were understanding of the need for the council to save money but they were willing to work with the council with reduced hours.  They therefore feel let down by seeing proposals to close the library in the previous report.


Cllr Bhangra reiterated what was said in the previous report regarding trying to keep Boyn Grove library operational.  It was an important centre for the community servicing children and adults, including those with learning difficulties. He wanted assurance that everything possible was being done to keep libraries open.  The Lead Member responded by saying they would be doing everything possible to keep libraries open. 


Cllr Sharpe mentioned that he was a big supporter of libraries and that they were important community assets.  He said he was concerned about those who may be excluded by the digital offer especially as many libraries were used by the elderly.  Reduced opening hours in the morning, especially over winter months, would make it harder for them to access services.   There needed to be a balance between opening hours so the facilities could be used to their full potential. 


The Deputy Chairman of Cabinet, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health reiterated what Cllr Bhangra had said and asked if the Lead Member would join with them to put a letter together to the minister asking for contingency funding for libraries.


Resolved unanimously:  that That Cabinet notes the report and:


i)          Subject to the outcome of the Library Transformation Strategy Consultation, approves the new schedule of Library Opening Hours detailed in Appendix B.

ii)         Delegates authority to the Director of Resources in consultation with the Lead Member for Lead Member for Resident  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b


Finance Update: January 2021 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Cabinet considered the latest financial update report.


The Lead Member for Finance and Ascot informed Cabinet that the headlines were an adverse movement of £591K from the November position, however, the outturn had improved with a projected positive variance of £3.74Million. This position had been helped by an increase in COVID-19 funding of £2.243 million. As appendix A showed the Council’s COVID-19 costs of £15.4 million were forecast to be fully mitigated by Government funding.


The Lead Member informed that this meant that the projected outturn represents the financial position of the Council with COVID-19 stripped out. The forecast of £3.74M positive variance was quite remarkable and officers across the Council deserve our thanks.  £2.374 of the variance is attributable to delivering services below budgeted costs and £1.4M to none service budgets.


It was proposed to transfer £3 million to a COVID-19 general reserve which would be used to support the 2021/22 budget and mitigate some of the £9.2 million projected COVID-19 costs and a further £300K will be moved into an Optalis Development reserve to cover additional overhead costs to be incurred next year. These movements reduce the general reserve to £6.75million which remains above the minimum level of £6.37Million


Some think that government funding had bailed us out and created the increase in reserves. Anyone who thought this was under a misapprehension as they fail to consider for one the opportunity cost of £2.3 million transformational savings COVID had prevented us from making.


The Lead Member provided the following highlights; given the latest advice from Government on travel, parking income was predicted to be lower by £241K but we should, through the sales, fees and charges scheme be able to recover 71% of any loss.


Industrial and commercial estates had taken a prudent approach and negotiated payment plans and other arrangements with tenants to secure longer term recovery and minimise expensive voids. The projected outturn has improved by £394k

Children’s Services were projection an increased overspend of over £418K

Council Tax and business rates provide £88M of our income, pleasingly collection rates are holding up remarkable well.


He also drew Cabinets attention to appendix I which detailed the COVID-19 funding we have received from Government currently a totalling £94M. This was dedicated to supporting the impact of COVID-19 on Council services and a range of business support schemes that were administered by revenues and benefits. This continued to place significant pressure on the team who were doing a great job.


Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and welcomed the level of detail within the report.   He asked if the funding from the Homeless Support Grant was still available, he questioned the reference to the Sainsbury’s Rotunda and the £72,000 parking pressure.  He also asked about the reference to the new polling station program for the May 2021 elections and the hiring of tablets as he would have thought this required a separate Cabinet paper.

The Lead Member replied that the tablets were to be used in polling stations for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6c


Renewal of Contract in Shared Legal Service pdf icon PDF 158 KB


Item withdrawn prior to the meeting.


Vicus Way Car Park, Maidenhead pdf icon PDF 226 KB


Cabinet considered the report regarding the development of a new Multi-Storey Car Park at Vicus Way.


The Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed Cabinet that the report was for the approval for the development of a new multi-storey car park at Vicus Way.   Permission had been given on 28th June 2018 and Council approval the capital budget on 19th July 2018. The initial budget of £13,207,249 was approved from which £350,000 was vired to fund additional car parking provision at Braywick Park in June 2020.


Cabinet were informed that the construction of the new car park was formally tendered via the OJEU procurement process and Buckingham Group were selected as the main contractor and the contract was due to be entered into March 2020.  As a result of Covid19 lockdown it was necessary  to postpone entering into the contract whilst the impact of Covid19 was assessed and better understood both in terms of site management and delivery, the potential impact on demand for spaces and the Council’s review of its car parking strategy.


Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and said that he welcomed the transparency and the honest comments he mentioned how Cllr Hunt had undertaken scrutiny on this by reviewing many of the earlier court documents.  He asked about the £2.2 million of savings that will go into the revenue budget.  If this is not approve is there a contingency savings or does this mean approval is required.  The report also mentioned the Royal London Asset Management expressing an interest in car parking spaces depending on their planning application.  Should you not wait until planning has been determined and if I fails is there any underwriting into the plans.  What happens if they decide they do not want the 200 spaces. 


Mr Hill also informed that the report talked about Stafferton Way being in the BLP for residential use, however why not just rebuild a new car park on this site as you were doing with Broadway.   The proposed plans on Vicus Way were very unpopular and it is a strange time to commit £12 million of public money especially when parking income is not being achieved and the way we work is changing. 


The Chairman replied that in terms of the mention £2.2 million this was a capital cost to date due to general design project management, planning fees and professional fees.  If we proceed theses capital costs would have to be transferred to revenue costs.  This was not a driver in bring this forward, the business plan had been reviewed and he believed that this was a robust case for approving the plans.  This also provided an holistic solution working in conjunction with other plans for development in Maidenhead.  With regards to the London Assey Management application he was right that planning had not yet been determined, however even if this did not go ahead intelligence suggested that there was still sufficient demand for parking. 


The Lead Member for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6e


Broadway Car Park, Maidenhead pdf icon PDF 1005 KB


Cabinet considered the report regarding the delivery of the new Broadway Car Park.


Leader of the Council and Chairman of Cabinet, Business, Economic Development and Property informed Cabinet that they had approved the development of a new multi-storey car park to replace the current Nicholson’s Car Park in September 2018.


The initial budget of £35,313,163 was approved from which £470,000 was vired to fund legal, valuation and project management fees to negotiate the land sale agreements for the sale of Nicholson’s Centre freehold, Central House land Freehold and land swap of the Broadway Car Park in April 2019 and a further £480,000 was vired to fund associated Covid cost at Braywick Park in June 2020.


The car park was being delivered as part of the wider Nicholson’s Quarter Masterplan. The initial planning application was submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) in May 2020 following public consultation and pre-application advice from the LPA. Following further consultation and feedback a revised application was submitted in November 2020.


The Council had agreed to enter into a new 125 year lease to enable Denhead S.A.R.L. to construct a self-contained basement car park beneath the MSCP at its own cost and a separate 50 year lease over 188 car parking spaces in the upper level on commercial rental basis, subject to a break option in the favour of the council after 30 years.


A new facility would be provided for Maidenhead Shopmobility and Changing Places on the ground floor of the car park along with active units for commercial uses on both Brock Lane and Broadway.


Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and said that this application was huge and questioned how members had not taken a predetermined view as this scheme was an important part of the biggest changes to the town centre.  It was a shame that Denhead S.A.R.L. had not attended the BLP hearing meetings so show what their vision was.  He asked if the 125 year lease was subject to planning, how much were they paying and when was it entered into.   He also mentioned that there would be a special planning meeting taking place in quarter 4, was this a mistake.  He also referenced the heritage centre as they had not agreed to any of the offers to move.


The Chairman replied that just because it was an important application we should not suggest that there has been any predetermination.  With regards to the Heritage Centre there had been communication with them and a potential offer of an alternative site was made. They never responded to the offer so it had been rescinded, however, for the foreseeable future the centre would remain at its current location.  If there was a need to move in the future we would discuss alternative locations.


The Managing director of the RBWM Property Company informed that no leases had been entered into and that they would not be until planning consent had been granted and the car park was built.  With regards to planning it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6f



To consider passing the following resolution:-


“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on items 8-9 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act"


RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That under Section 100(A)(4) od the Local Government Act 1972, the public were excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion took place on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.



To consider the Part II minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 17 December 2020.



Resolved unanimously: that the Part II minutes of the meeting on the 17th December 2020 be approved.


Cabinet Members' Reports


Vicus Way Car Park, Maidenhead - Part II Appendix


Cabinet noted the Part II appendices.


Broadway Car Park, Maidenhead


Cabinet noted the Part II appendices.