A report from the Executive Director – Place is attached. (Key decision – reference number 4711)
(9.00 – 9.05 pm)
Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Executive Director of Place (No.34).
1. Peter George (Director of Meridian Water) outlined the current rail provision in the Meridian Water area which was not sufficient to meet current and potential needs. The Council had worked closely with the GLA on the proposals set out in the report. There were a number of stages to the process of submitting a bid to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund as outlined in the report.
2. In September 2017 the GLA on behalf of the Council, had submitted an Expression of Interest, amounting to £120m to deliver Meridian Water strategic infrastructure. The first stage submission had been successful and the funding bid would be taken forward to the final stage with a fully worked-up business case by September 2018. The report summarised the scope of the works included in the bid and the content of the draft business case to be submitted.
3. This funding would be important in developing both the rail and road infrastructure and in the provision of three bridges, for the Meridian Water area and for the benefit of the local community.
4. In response to a question raised on section 3.1.5 of the report, Peter George (Director of Meridian Water) explained that the infrastructure was planned for completion in March 2023, it was a crucial part of the business case to explain to Government the number of homes that would be unlocked as a direct result of infrastructure intervention. It was also important to note the further homes that would be unlocked as a result of Crossrail 2.
5. The detailed key risks set out in section 7 of the report, a number of which would apply if the funding was not forthcoming. In moving forward it was important to ensure that Cabinet was kept fully informed of any challenges in moving forward and any risks that arose, for example in ensuring the delivery of identified works within specified timescales. It was noted that should the bid be successful, the detailed funding agreement would be brought back to Cabinet for consideration.
6. That recommendation 2.6 of the report be amended to be a future Cabinet decision as set out in decision 6 below.
7. Members welcomed and encouraged the bid and acknowledged the significant work which had been undertaken by officers and previous Cabinet Members to reach this stage.
8. The contingency budgets that had been included within the bid for both the rail and road infrastructure. It was noted that significant work was required to formulate the detailed costings and plans to finalise the bid. It was anticipated that the outcome of the bid would be announced in November as part of the Government’s Autumn Budget Statement.
9. The need for a robust business case and to also consider the way forward should the funding bid not be successful. It was important for the Council to understand the full implications on such a major project. Regular updates would continue to be provided at future Cabinet meetings and reports submitted for consideration as and when appropriate.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the alternative options considered as detailed in section 4 of the report: Do nothing; Borrowing; and, Financed via Private Sector Development Partner.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Approve the scope of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid as set out in section 3.2 of the report and delegated authority to the Director of Meridian Water to make such amendments as were deemed necessary following discussions with the Council’s advisors, GLA and the government.
2. Approve the planning strategy for HIF delivery works substantially in the form contained in section 3.4 of the report and delegated authority to the Director of Meridian Water to make such amendments as were deemed necessary following discussions with the Council’s advisers and the GLA.
3. Delegate to the Director of Meridian Water in consultation with the Director of Law and Governance to authorise the contractor procurement procedure for HIF delivery works set out at section 3.5 of the report and delegate authority to award resulting contacts to the Executive Director of Resources and Executive Director of Place.
4. Delegate authority to the Executive Director of Resources and Executive Director of Place to approve the submission of the Housing Infrastructure Fund Business Case to the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government for receipt of funding to deliver the HIF delivery works.
5. Delegate authority to the Director of Law and Governance to approve any legal agreements as required by the subject matter of the report.
6. A report be brought back to an appropriate future Cabinet meeting to accept the HIF funds from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government should funding be successfully secured.
Reason: Should the HIF application be unsuccessful, none of the work should be abortive. Any design, planning or enabling works carried out would reduce both the costs and the risks required to be taken by a future developer, therefore increasing the attractiveness of the scheme to the marketplace.
(Key decision – reference number 4711)