Decision details

Transfer of the completed development at Bridges Cross at the former Lucy Faithfull House site on Speedwell Street, Oxford from Oxford City Housing (Development) Limited to Oxford City Council

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Cabinet, on 29 May 2019, (‘The future strategic direction for the Council’s group of housing companies’) resolved to:

6. Agree that delegated authority is given to the Assistant Chief Executive in consultation with the Head of Finance and the Head of Law and Governance to approve and facilitate the agreed purchase by the HRA of all affordable housing units at the OHCL development sites.

Decision:

The Council will enter into the following transactions:

1. OCHDL will grant a 999 year lease of the 26 affordable housing units to OCC for the consideration approved in July 2021 (and at a peppercorn rent). The premium for the lease is £10.25m in line with the original authority, this sum has been received by OCH(D)L through staged payments made by OCC in line with the 2021 decision;

2. On grant of the lease, the Council will release the charge it holds over the freehold property protecting advance payments (of the above consideration) which it has made;

3. OCHDL and the Council will enter into a management agreement under which the Council will manage the site, services, service charge and occupiers on behalf of OCHDL.

4. OCC and OCHDL will enter a forward sale agreement providing for OCC to purchase the freehold of the site for £1 once OCHDL has sold the final private unit.

All of the above will achieve the original intention of the Cabinet decision taken in 2019 which is to transfer the completed units back to the Council.

Reasons for the decision:

As the developed block at the property includes both private (10) and affordable housing units (26), the details for the structure for the purchase back of the developed site had to be agreed.  The structure enables OCHDL to retain the income from the sale of the private units and removes risk for both parties.  As originally delegated by Cabinet, the decision allows completion of the transfer of the freehold of the property from OCHDL (developer) to OCC once the private units have been sold.

Alternative options considered:

Not granting the lease or transferring the land.  However, OCHL is unable to dispose of the Shared Ownership or Affordable rented properties and they would have remained vacant.

Signed off by senior officers:

Decision taken by Caroline Green, Chief Executive in consultation with Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services; Emma Jackman, Head of Law and Governance; and Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing.

Urgent item?: Yes

Publication date: 13/11/2023

Date of decision: 13/11/2023

Accompanying Documents: