Agenda and draft minutes

Call in, Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 29th July, 2021 7.15 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Bury Town Hall

Contact: Julie Gallagher  Democratic Services

No. Item




Councillors Boroda, Vernon and Walsh




Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any matters on the agenda and, if so, to formally declare that interest.


Councillor G McGill declared a personal interest in item OSC.XXX Call in – accelerated land and property disposals programme – phase 2 as his lives near one of the areas of land, identified for disposal.



A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on matters considered at the last meeting and set out in the minutes or on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.


Questions and responses, received in advance of the meeting are attached.


The following questions from members of the public were received in advance of the meeting:


Question one:  The green on old hall park estate was purchased form barretts in1979 with no onerous covenants and leisure controlled whatever that means. its service use is described as leisure. For over 45years it has been used by the community continually and the residents committee have planted bulbs fruit trees and purchased a memorial bench which is in daily use.  In the current covid pandemic it has been a real life saver as a safe place for exercise fresh air and socially distanced contact with neighbours. So why has ii been placed on this list?  Yvonne Moore


Supplementary question: Can the Leader confirm if the land has been earmarked for disposal because the Council does not wish to continue to cover the maintenance costs?


In response Councillor O’Brien, Leader of the Council reported that the Cabinet report considered on the 24th November 2020 approved the Council taking active steps to rationalise its land and property assets that are surplus to the requirements of the Council and are non-strategic; but which continue to need a continuous injection of revenue funding to maintain them.


The Council expects to generate capital receipts of £8 million pounds because of the land disposal.  For efficiency purposes, land is disposed of, in one tranche, the Leader reported this does not suggest that the land does not have any value or it is not important or it should not be protected.


Question Two:  Were valuations done to ascertain the estimated level of capital receipts from the sale of the assets in the report and if so have they been prioritised? What monetary value are the Council seeking for the land?  Lois Clements

Supplementary Question:  Are members aware of how this area has been used and much loved by residents over the last 40+ years? Do they know it has been planted with trees and bulbs by residents, a commemorative bench provided, community events such as the recent VE Day celebrations have taken place here and election cabins located for Pilkington Park ward?
Bury's vision statement includes the following priority "Drive forward through effective marketing and information, proactive engagement with the people of Bury to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing". Would the members explain how the removal of a much loved amenity green space will improve residents wellbeing, particularly those who are older and less mobile?

In response Councillor O’Brien, Leader of the Council reported no formal valuations have been carried out, the Council will in the first instance look to test interest in the sites, including interest from the community.  The Council is not looking to remove the area, but rather to take active steps to rationalise Council land and property assets that non strategic and surplus to the requirements of the Council and need a continuous injection of revenue funding to maintain them.


Question three -  When the current estate was completed, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC.11


*CALL IN - Accelerated Land and Property Disposals Programme - Phase 2 pdf icon PDF 698 KB

Following the receipt of a Notice of Call-in within the required deadline, from Councillor N Jones calling in the decision of the Cabinet set out in Minute CA.94 of the meeting held on the 30th June 2021 a meeting of the Committee has been convened in order to consider the matter in accordance with the reasons set out on the Notice of Call-In.


In considering the matter, the options available to the Scrutiny Committee are as follows:


1.   The Scrutiny Committee decides not to offer any comments on the Notice. In this situation the decision of the Cabinet will stand.


2.   The Scrutiny Committee decides to offer comments or

objections, which will be referred back to the Cabinet   


3.   The Scrutiny Committee may refer the Notice, without comment, to the Council. The matter will then be considered by the Council (a standard item appears on all Council summons to consider referrals from Scrutiny Committees). Any comments or objections from Council will be referred back to the Cabinet at the earliest opportunity, in accordance with the Council Constitution.


The Cabinet will be required to consider any objections and comments but will not be bound by them unless "it is contrary to the Policy Framework or contrary to or not wholly consistent with the Budget"


A copy of the original paperwork considered by Cabinet, along with the decision Minute and Call –in notice are attached in the agenda packs.


Additional documents:




(A)       Call in members to present their reasons for Call in

Following the receipt of a Notice of Call-in within the required deadline, from Councillor N Jones calling in the decision of the Cabinet set out in Minute CA.94 of the meeting held on the 30th June 2021; Councillors Jones and Harris were invited to present their reasons for calling the matter in for further consideration.  In presenting their reasons the following points/issues were raised:

  • The importance of the land at Ryecroft, Whitefield to the local community.
  • Lack of consultation, lack of trust and confidence in the consultation process and poor engagement with local residents.
  • Concerned that green spaces would be built on.
  • Clarification as to the process for selection of the sites to be disposed of
  • Clarification as to whether the land could be offered to the community as a Community Asset transfer in the first instance.

Responding to the issues raised, the Leader of the Council reported that it is important for Elected Members to raise objections as early as possible, there were several opportunities for Members to raise objections, including when the Accelerated Land Disposal reported was considered at Cabinet.

The Leader reported that he is not prepared to make determinations on individual pieces of land at this meeting, this would be unfair, wrong, out of process and not in keep with policy established in Nov 2020.  There are several routes open to the community and he will encourage residents if they wish to do so, to progress a Community Asset Transfer. 

The Executive Director reported that in deciding the sites for disposal, Council Officers considered if the land was a) part of a regeneration programme, b) parkland or formal recreation area and c) the typology of the sites.  Some of the site identified will generate Capital receipts for the Council some, but not all will be used for new housing.

The Leader report that the Council adheres to the Gunning Principles when undertaking a consultation exercise.  The Leader reported that Councillors and Members of the public may disagree and may have differing views, but Members can be assured that these principles are adhere to. 

The Leader reported that CAT has been utilised successfully in the past and is open to members of the community and residents to pursue supported by Officers from the Council.




(B)       Questions and comments from committee members


In response to the Call in and also the comments by members of the public present as well as the Leaders statement, Committee members raised the following issues:


·         Responding to Councillor Kevin Peel, the Leader of the Council reported that there is continued pressure on the Council’s revenue budget, the capital receipts generated from the sale would help to lift the burden of some of the investment needed to underpin day to day running costs, including digital infrastructure, energy efficacy roads and green spaces.

·         In response to a Councillor Lucy  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC.12