Minutes – Property Sub-Committee – 23 February 2023
The minutes of this meeting are presented below.
You can also download a PDF copy of the minutes here: Minutes – Property Sub-Committee – 23 February 2023
Date: 23 February 2023
Time: 10.30am – 12.15pm
Location: The Council Chamber – The Council House • North Street • CHICHESTER • West Sussex • PO19 1LQ
PRESENT: Councillor Scicluna (Chairman) and Councillors Dignum, Plowman and Quail
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Councillors Apel and Corfield, Deputy Town Clerk, Acting Property Manager, Member Services Support Officer
40. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
RESOLVED to accept and approve apologies and reasons for absence from the meeting from Councillor J Hughes.
41. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN MATTERS ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING
Councillors Plowman and Scicluna declared an interest as members of the Murray Club.
Councillors Dignum and Plowman declared an interest as a Member of Chichester District Council.
Councillors Scicluna and Plowman declared interests as the City Council and District Council representatives on the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee, respectively.
42. MINUTES OF THE PROPERTY SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 7 NOVEMBER 2022
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Property Sub-Committee meeting held on 7 November 2022 be approved and signed as a correct record.
The Chairman advised Members that she would acknowledge and sign the notes from the inquorate 18 January 2023 meeting.
43. COUNCIL HOUSE
a) Mayor’s carpark
The Acting Property Manager gave a summary of the information given in his report and advised that he would recommend the contractor who had submitted a quote of £5,760+VAT.
In response to questions from Members, the Acting Property Manager advised that the self-seeded tree in the carpark was subject to a Tree Preservation Order and, as such, could not be removed. He advised that ongoing care and maintenance of the tree allowed for pollarding and crown reduction which would reduce the spread of the tree and the related fouling issues from birds perched in the branches.
Councillor Corfield asked about the possibility of providing a charging point in the carpark and installing solar panels to supply it. The Acting Property Manager reminded Members that the City Council had previously installed a charging point in the carpark but that solar panels would not be sufficient for supplying power to it.
Members expressed concerns about the number of projects on the agenda that could require funding and agreed that any resolutions should be prioritised when being agreed.
After a short further debate, it was RECOMMENDED to the Finance Committee on 11 April 2023 that an order be placed with Crown Civil Engineering for the relandscaping of the rear section of the Mayor’s carpark in the sum of £5,760+VAT to be paid from the Council House Reserve.
b) Redecoration works
The Acting Property Manager summarised his report and expressed the opinion that the entrance foyer and main stairs were looking a little “tired”. He also pointed out the defects that had appeared in the Council Chamber, most notably the ceiling dome.
He further explained that recent upgrades to the heating system, would minimise wide fluctuations in the room temperature and reduce the damage this had previously caused.
Members discussed the issues raised and it was AGREED that the Acting Property Manager and Councillor Plowman would undertake a condition audit of the Chamber, foyer, main stairs and landing so that a specification for decorative works could be compiled and contractors invited to quote for the works. It was further AGREED that these quotes would be brought to a future meeting of the Property Sub-Committee for discussion.
c) Crush Bar ceiling
Members were advised that comments had been received about the condition of the Crush Bar ceiling with tiles being water stained or damaged.
The Acting Property Manager explained that the tiling system was not very flexible as it did not allow for individual tiles to be removed and replaced easily. He suggested that a solution might be a plasterboard ceiling with sufficient access points to allow for maintenance of the building services contained in the roof space.
Members AGREED that the Acting Property Manager should put together a specification for the required works and approach contractors for quotes. These quotes would then be presented at a future Property Sub-Committee meeting for discussion and a decision.
d) Assembly Room lighting
The Acting Property Manager explained the problems with the lighting system in the Assembly Room that were being experienced due to the gradual failure of the existing control unit.
He informed Members that he had received quotes of £6,431.25+VAT and £7,471.00+VAT for a like-for-like replacement.
In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, the Acting Property Manager explained that a simpler alternative would be to install a bank of switches on the wall in the Green Room, giving control over the various lighting circuits. He also explained that the current control panels by the doors in to the Assembly Room would be replaced with simpler switches to allow the lights to be turned on then further controlled from the Green Room.
In response to a question from Councillor Quail, the Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that there were sufficient funds in the Council House Reserve for the work and suggested that the City Council’s CIL receipts might also be a source of funding.
Members agreed that the Assembly Room represented a significant income source for the City Council so, as such, the lighting system should be as flexible as possible and easy to use.
The Sub-Committee asked the Acting Property Manager to put together a costed proposal of the simplified scheme and bring it back to the next meeting.
e) Battery storage of solar energy
Members were updated regarding the ongoing efforts to obtain quotes for the installation of battery storage connected to the Council House solar array.
They were informed that Save Money Cut Carbon had advised that the amount of excess power being generated by the solar panels, if any, over and above that used during the day in the building; probably did not warrant expenditure on a storage system at this time.
Members AGREED to put this project on hold and review it in the future subject to improving battery technology coupled with lower prices.
f) Electrical Installation Condition Report
The information and options given in the Property Manager’s report were summarised.
Members agreed with the Deputy Town Clerk that, as had previously happened, the full report should be commissioned rather than staged reports over a number of years that would prove more costly.
It was therefore RECOMMENDED to the Finance Committee on 11 April 2023 that an order be placed for £2840.00+VAT with Aspect Electrical Contractors for a full Electrical Condition Report at the Council House, paid from the Council House Maintenance Budget.
g) Council Chamber décor
Members agreed that this subject had already been covered earlier (minute 43b refers)
h) Council Chamber chandelier
The Chairman gave Members a brief history of the damage that had been caused to the chandelier by bomb blasts in the Second World War.
She advised the Sub-Committee that she had previously been approached by someone offering to assess the damage and restore the chandelier should the City Council wish to.
Councillor Dignum informed Members that he had never noticed the damage and the Deputy Mayor expressed the opinion that he felt that the damage formed part of the history of the chandelier and that to repair it fully would take some of the character away.
In response to questions from Members, the Acting Property Manager confirmed that there were no issues with the safety of the chandelier’s installation and the Deputy Town Clerk informed the Sub-Committee that the chandelier would have been included in the City Council’s insurable asset assessment.
Councillor Quail commented on the poor lighting levels achieved from the chandelier and the Member Services Support Officer advised that this was due to the LED bulbs being very early versions and less powerful.
Members agreed that this was a problem and asked the Acting Property Manager to investigate installing brighter lamps as well as reinstalling the dimmer switches to allow for control of the lighting levels should the event in the room require it.
It was then AGREED that, as the chandelier was deemed to be safe, no further action be taken regarding its overall condition at this time.
i) Copper roof
Members were informed that the lower cost works had been completed at a cost of £672.95+VAT, paid from the Council House Maintenance Budget.
They were further informed that this work had been undertaken quickly to prevent further water ingress and damage to the building.
j) Façade lighting
The Acting Property Manager advised Members that a request had been received from Chichester BID to fly a Pride flag on the Council House and illuminate the Market Cross and Council House in Pride colours as part of celebrations for Chichester Pride on the 27 May 2023 and then through the month of June.
The Chairman expressed the opinion that principles needed to be established regarding which flags were appropriate for display on the Council House. Some mentioned were the Union flag, City flag, Sussex flag, Armed Forces Day flag and the flag of St George.
The Deputy Mayor agreed and reminded Members that Chichester BID had a number of flagpoles around the city and that it was up to them which flags were flown at those locations.
Members agreed that the lighting request could be implemented as the Council House had previously been lit up for events such as Holocaust Remembrance Day and Ukraine Day.
The Acting Property Manager informed Councillors that the lights installed on the Council House and Market Cross could not produce a fixed rainbow but that they could rotate through the full spectrum.
It was then AGREED that the Council House and Market Cross be lit in a rotating spectrum of colours on the evening of the Chichester Pride event, May 27 2023, but that it would not be continued for the month of June.
The Chairman acknowledged that the distinction between the types of flags flown on the Council House was narrow and that the decision was not a reflection of the Members’ views on any particular organisation, however the request to raise the Pride flag on the Council House was declined.
k) Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CCAAC)
The Chairman and Deputy Mayor reiterated their declarations of interest as City and District Council representatives on the CCAAC, respectively.
The Chairman outlined the situation regarding meeting spaces as given in her report that had been circulated with the agenda.
Councillor Apel expressed sympathy with the problems being experienced and agreed that the City Council and the Council House would be a good location for the meetings to move to.
The Chairman confirmed that the CCAAC were only seeking a meeting space during the normal working day as they had been experiencing problems with the other venues they had been using.
The Member Services Support Officer reminded Members that, during office hours, it would be possible to facilitate attendance through the City Council’s Zoom account.
After a short further discussion it was AGREED that the CCAAC could have free use of a space at the Council House during standard office hours for their monthly meetings.
Councillor Apel left the meeting.
The Acting Property Manager gave Councillors some background details and advised them that the reasons for looking for an upgrade included issues with the night vision function of some of the cameras and a proposal to link the system to the recently installed CCTV system in Litten Gardens.
Members discussed the issues and whether there was a need for this to proceed given that the presence of the cameras was largely as a deterrent only.
Councillor Quail suggested that the upgrade might be needed to allow for clear footage to be provided in the event of an incident.
In response to comments from Members, the Member Services Support Officer advised that CCTV footage filmed on private property by the property owner could be supplied to the Police whereas footage filmed of the public domain FROM private property was not usable.
After a short further debate, it was AGREED that the Acting Property Manager should put together a specification for the proposed CCTV upgrade and obtain quotes for the work for presentation at the next meeting.
The Acting Property Manager summarised the information that had been provided in his report.
The Chairman noted the sale of the water bowser and purchase of a more robust rotovator for use on the allotments.
b) Water leak
The Acting Property Manager summarised the information in his report regarding a leak in the pipework somewhere within the Kingsham allotment site.
He advised that quotes had been obtained for the replacement of the current metal pipework in the sums of £4,690.00+VAT and £5,613.74.
Post meeting note (24/02/23): A further quote has been received in the sum of £2,560.00+VAT for the pipework replacement work.
He also advised that he would be going to Kingsham allotments with the Property Maintenance Officer to investigate the leak and assess whether the issue could be remedied in house.
Members discussed the issue and agreed that, while the work should be completed as soon as possible, if this was not possible before the site water supply was due to be turned back on at the end of March; then this would need to be explained to the allotment holders.
The Sub-Committee AGREED that the Acting Property Manager should report his findings to the Chairman and a Special Meeting be called if necessary to decide on the way forward.
Post meeting note (28/02/23): Further to the meeting, the Acting Property Manager and Property Maintenance Officer investigated the leak further and were successful in making repairs. It was agreed that the situation would be monitored for further leaks and recommended that the larger replacement pipe works be undertaken in the event of further leaks.
c) Electric ride on mower
The Acting Property Manager outlined the request received from the Property Maintenance Officer for the purchase of an electric ride on mower for use in the maintenance of the grassed areas on the City Council’s land assets.
Members discussed the benefits of the request, including the time saving over the current smaller push mower and the reduction in use of fossil fuels.
In response to a question from Councillors, the Acting Property Manager said he would check whether the mower would be capable of undertaking the grass cutting at Brewery Field, which was currently undertaken by an outside contractor.
Members received the request favourably and asked the Acting Property Manager to put together a full report on the request, obtain three quotes for the mower and present his findings to the next Property Sub-Committee meeting.
45. BUS STOPS/SHELTERS
a) Swanfield Drive
The Member Services Support Officer updated Members and advised that he had received notification that the A2 Dominion Committee would be signing the agreement with the City Council for the transfer of the land the following week.
He also informed Members that the City Council had passed the matter to a solicitor to ensure the transaction completed correctly and the land title was correctly registered to the City Council.
Members were advised that it was hoped that this would be completed shortly so that a final public consultation and approval by Full Council could take place in the near future.
b) Bognor Road
Members were updated on the proposed location of the bus shelter in Bognor Road, near the junction with York Road.
The Member Services Support Officer informed the Sub-Committee that the matter had been discussed at Council on 22 February 2023 and that West Sussex County Council would be issuing the necessary Section 115 licence imminently, after which the work would be commissioned.
c) Broyle Road
Members were informed that there had been a recent spate of incidents involving deliberate damage to the bus shelters in Broyle Road and Lavant Road.
Members were further informed that, since the Acting Property Manager’s report had been distributed, further damage to all the bus shelters and multiple glass panels had occurred.
The Member Services Support Officer outlined the scale of the damage and the costs that had been quoted by GW Shelters for two options:
- Replacement of all damaged panels and remaining glass panels with polycarbonate panels – £2,548.92
- Replacement of all damaged panels and remaining glass panels with sheet steel panels, painted to match – £3,553.88+VAT
He informed Members that if polycarbonate panels were to be used, they could be subjected to scratching and yellowing in the sun. He proposed that most of the panels be replaced with sheet steel with just the upper side panels being changed for polycarbonate to aid with visibility.
In response to a question about the damage to the bus shelter at the bottom of Broyle Road, next to The Bell Inn, the Member Services Support Officer confirmed that this was a District Council bus shelter with the advertising panel, and that the other shelters further up the road were City Council property. He further confirmed that none of the City Council installed shelters carried advertising panels.
After a short discussion, it was RECOMMENDED to the Finance Committee on the 11 April 2023 that the replacement of the damaged and remaining glass panels in the City Council bus shelters on Broyle and Lavant Roads with the mix of steel and polycarbonate as proposed should proceed.
Due to the need to replace the damaged panels as soon as possible it was AGREED that an order to the value of the revised quote be placed with GW Shelters to allow the work to proceed immediately and the matter reported to the Finance Committee in April.
Post meeting note: The Supplier informed the City Council that an error had been made in the original quote regarding the cost of the metal panels. The revised quote of £4,457.94 includes the combination metal and polycarbonate panels. The Deputy Town Clerk discussed the matter with the Chairman of the Sub-Committee and it was agreed that the order should proceed.
46. PUBLIC REALM PROJECTS
a) Murray sculpture
The Acting Property Manager reminded Members that the transfer of the Murray sculpture had now been completed and the order placed for the installation of the Sussex Heritage Trust plaque in the south face of plinth.
He also advised Members that he would be asking for the plinth to be cleaned at the same time and was awaiting a date for installation.
Post meeting note: Due to lack of response from the original contractor, the Acting Property Manager has asked that that order be cancelled. A quote has been received from a different contractor in the amount of £1,103.39+VAT and further quotes are being sought.
b) Cycle racks
The Acting Property Manager reminded Members about the issues that had been experienced with the cycle racks in the city.
He also reminded Members that it had been proposed that the existing single racks be replaced with larger, multi stand racks (also known as Sheffield racks) bolted to the surface. It was hoped that this would provide greater security and make them more difficult to remove in the event that the bolts came loose.
Councillors were informed that the intention was to undertake a phased replacement with a small number of high profile sites being selected as an indication that the City Council was addressing the concerns of cyclists.
The Deputy Town Clerk confirmed that the replacement racks could be funded from the City Council’s CIL receipts.
It was AGREED that an initial unit be purchase using CIL funds, installed in a popular location and monitored with an update to be given at the next meeting.
c) Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs)
The Acting Property Manager advised Members that the installation of SID mounting posts in St Pauls Road and Broyle Road had now been completed and the SID recently deployed to Broyle Road. He further advised that posts had been requested in other areas such as Westgate, Florence Road, Bognor Road, Stockbridge Road and Whyke Road.
Councillor Quail confirmed that the request for Westgate had been submitted some time ago.
Members were informed that there had been a noticeable effect on traffic speed in the road, notwithstanding the car caught at 75MPH driving in to the city one morning.
The Member Services Support Officer advised that he had contacted West Sussex County Council Highways and been informed that there was no theoretical upper limit on the number of SID posts that could be installed, subject to site surveys and public consultations. He also advised that Councillors should be mindful of the impact that increasing numbers of SID posts would have on the public realm, the single SID device currently being deployed and the Officer resources available for running the data downloads and physically moving the device around.
After a short discussion, it was AGREED that the formulation of a City Council policy on SID post locations should be deferred to the 20MPH Default Speed Limit Working Group that would be reporting to the Planning and Conservation Committee. Councillor Quail, as Chairman of that Committee, agreed with this proposal.
Members discussed concerns expressed by the Deputy Mayor about installing SID posts on the smaller, largely residential, roads around the city rather than the larger roads as had been the case up to this point.
It was also AGREED that the Westgate SID post request should proceed and that a site survey should be arranged with Councillor Quail and West Sussex County Highways to assess the possible locations within the Westgate area. Members were in agreement that this information should then come back to the Sub-Committee for a final decision to be made about SID posts in Westgate.
Post meeting note: West Sussex County Highways have been contacted and are aware of the request. A date is yet to be confirmed regarding a site visit and any progress will be reported to the next meeting of the Property Sub-Committee.
d) Parish Boundary Signs
The Acting Property manager summarised the information in his report.
He advised Members that the junction of Terminus Road with the Fishbourne roundabout had been identified as an access point to the Parish of Chichester that did not have a Parish boundary sign installed.
Members were further advised that the City Council already had the necessary sign plate and that this could have the graphics updated and the sign installed in house.
It was then AGREED that the installation should proceed subject to resolution of any statutory requirements and that Officers should contact West Sussex County Highways to discuss the way forward.
e) Railway Station waiting rooms
Councillors received an update on the progress of the art project currently under way, funded by Section 106 monies; that would see a series of large photographs installed in the waiting rooms at Chichester Railway Station in tamper proof frames.
Members were informed that the frames had been obtained and that, once the method of fixing the images in to the frames had been resolved, they would be passed to the Railway Station for installation.
The Deputy Mayor advised Members that a memorial bench for former City Councillor and railway enthusiast Trevor Tupper would be installed at the Station by the end of March and it was hoped that the frame installation would be completed by then for a formal unveiling.
f) Cathedral beds
Members noted that approval had been given at the Council Meeting held on 22 February 2023 for preliminary work to proceed on obtaining quotes for the relandscaping of the cathedral beds.
f) City Centre Task Force
The Deputy Mayor gave a brief update on the progress to date regarding the City Centre Task Force. He expressed his thanks for the support given to the process by City Council Officers.
Members were advised that groups were coming forward to offer help and that the level of enthusiasm had been encouraging.
Councillor Dignum asked whether any work was planned for the twitten between East Street and the Oxmarket due to the poor condition the passageway was currently in.
It was agreed that the twitten would be added to the audit and allocated to the appropriate group for investigation.
47. MARKET CROSS
The Acting Property Manager informed Members of the vandalism and theft that had been suffered at the Market Cross.
One of the issues noted was the theft of two of the high level decorative pennants on the western side of the Cross.
Members noted their concerns about what had been happening and AGREED that investigations should be made in to sourcing suitable replacements with the outcomes being reported to the next meeting.
48. ITEMS FOR INCLUSION ON THE NEXT AGENDA
- Redecoration works – outcome of condition audit
- Crush Bar ceiling
- Assembly Room lighting
- Council House CCTV upgrade
- Electric ride on mower
- Murray sculpture
- Bike racks
- Cathedral beds
- City Centre Task Force
- Market Cross – replacement pennants
49. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Monday 3 April 2023 at 10.30am
The meeting closed at 12.15pm