Although today’s agenda was short, with only two items to be discussed, one of the items was significant. The meeting therefore lasted over three hours.
The first item on the Open Agenda was a request from Shelco to extend existing development permission at Broad Bottom. This permission dates from 2012 and is valid until 2017 – the request was to amend the end date to 2019.
The public will be aware that in March this year a new application for development permission to modify the design had been approved by Executive Council, sitting as the Planning Authority, subject to certain conditions.
There was a good deal of debate on the merits of the application, with some Members questioning the reasons for reverting to the previous application when a new submission had been made and approved. Reflecting the concern of the public about the viability of the development, Members were anxious to ensure that the message from today’s meeting was that St Helena is open to inward investment and needed to understand better the reasons why the applicant was concerned about the conditions attached to the decision taken earlier this year. The Chief Planning Officer was requested to make immediate contact with the applicant and to enter into meaningful negotiations to find and agree a way forward.
The second item on the Open Agenda was the St Helena Government Financial Statements for 2013/14. The Chief Auditor was in attendance. It was recognised that the production of the statements marked a significant improvement in SHG’s performance. The Financial Statements for 2014/15 have already been submitted for audit and it is anticipated that 2015/16 will be signed off by the end of this calendar year. While the Audit opinion was qualified, the Financial Secretary had accepted the recommendations of the Chief Auditor and the efforts of Corporate Finance and the Saint Helena Audit Service were recognised. Council approved the statements and recommended that they should be signed.
There were no substantive items on the Closed Agenda. In any other business, ExCo received reports on progress with the CDA at Bottom Woods, proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Ordinance, the Capital Programme, and the Governor updated Council on access issues.
The meeting concluded at 12.50pm.
14 June 2016