Resolved: That officers would be asked to produce a report for the Committee’s meeting on 4 July regarding the town centre regeneration as well as the extent and timing of the Catford Regeneration Partnership’s plans for the Catford Constitutional Club. It was also agreed that Members of the public would be invited to submit questions to the Committee in advance of that meeting.
4.1 Councillor Sheikh (Vice-Chair of Overview and Scrutiny) asked to address the Committee regarding the referral, the following key points were noted:
· There was apprehension in the community about the lack of consultation and clarity regarding proposals for the development of the Catford Constitutional Club.
· There were possible major implications for the local community related to the loss of the pub, which also served as a community centre.
· The only information that had been made available to councillors and residents about plans for the pub was in the report to the Public Accounts Select Committee. This was not an appropriate way to inform the community or councillors about proposals for redevelopment.
· There was significant alarm about the timing of the proposals. The lack of consultation meant that there was no clarity about whether the redevelopment was imminent or whether it would take place over a longer period.
· There were also fears in the community about access to housing and gentrification.
· In order to gain further clarity about the proposals for the redevelopment of the Catford Constitutional Club and examine the consultation (or lack thereof) carried out by officers - the Committee should ask Mayor and Cabinet to delay any upcoming decisions.
4.2 The Committee discussed the referral, the following key points were noted:
· Local councillors highlighted the misinformation that had been distributed about proposals for the Catford Constitutional Club.
· The Council had no proposals for closing the pub. A correction had been made in local news reports to clarify this issue. The Council had made it clear that the pub was safe.
· Issues had been confused and conflated. The pub and the pub operator were separate entities. Existing arrangements were based on a meanwhile use and whilst the current team running the pub should be commended for their work the owner of the pub chain would not necessarily be the right future operator.
· The Council had strong protections in place for pubs. The Committee had firmly supported the ‘agent of change’ principle for developments near pubs – which placed the emphasis on new housing developments to protect the operation of pre-existing pub businesses.
· Initial messages about the plans for the Catford Constitutional Club had not been communicated clearly but the information that was available had been somewhat misinterpreted.
· There were also misunderstandings about the Catford Regeneration Partnership Limited (CRPL). It was a company wholly owned by the Council, which was operated by Council employees and its actions were directed by the Council.
· The Committee should consider the issue at its meeting on 4 July – and members of the public should be invited to submit questions for clarification.
· There were no decisions on the published notice of key decisions relating to the redevelopment of the Catford Constitutional Club.
· Any future proposals for redevelopment would have to be submitted to planning for approval.
· Members had been involved in public consultation events and workshops relating to the masterplanning process for Catford.
· The Committee did not have sufficient information to discuss the details of any upcoming proposals at the meeting, which is why the item had been placed on the agenda for the Committee’s meeting on 4 July.
4.3 Councillor Hall addressed the Committee under standing orders - the following key points were noted:
· The Business Plan for CRPL would be considered by the full Council in July. It proposed redevelopment of the Catford Constitutional Club in 2020. The Council had already submitted plans for planning permission for the Catford Constitutional Club.
· Studio Egret West (the masterplanners for Catford) had a ten month contract to develop the masterplan for the town centre. That ten month period had ended and the masterplan had not yet been produced.
· The Committee was giving tacit agreement for the Catford Constitutional Club to be removed from the masterplanning process.
· That officers would be asked to produce a report for the Committee’s meeting on 4 July regarding the town centre regeneration as well as the extent and timing of the Catford Regeneration Partnership’s plans for the Catford Constitutional Club. It was also agreed that Members of the public would be invited to submit questions to the Committee in advance of that meeting.
4.5 A vote proposed by Cllr Sheikh was not carried on a suggestion to ask Mayor and Cabinet for: a timeline of key decisions for the regeneration of Catford; additional clarity about proposals for the Catford Constitutional Club - and further information about the consultation on the purported planning application currently under consideration.