Agenda item

Stronger Town Programme Update


Geoff Paul presented a report to the Board which set out the current progress being made in development assurance and mobilisation towards delivery of the Stronger Town Projects.


As agreed at the meeting on 28 July 2022, the two Business Cases in respect of the Springboard to Employment and Enterprise and SME Support, South Church projects were signed off and submitted to CLGU.


The Board also agreed to request an extension to the timeframe for submission of the Business Cases for Tindale Triangle and Heritage Walking and Cycling projects. Geoff Paul confirmed that the extension requests were submitted and had been approved by CLGU with the Walking and Cycling submission revised to the end of September 2022.


Table 1 of the report provided a schedule for submission of the Business Case summaries for the five remaining projects, which included a timeline for consideration by the Board ahead of the submission deadlines. This was in line with the Board’s request at the last meeting.


To assist with this process a Business Case delivery timeline had been worked up with project leads, and a summary of the current position with each Business Case was set out in paragraph 6 of the report.


Following a query from David Land regarding the summary, Officers assured the Board that although the stages highlighted in red had not been reached at the current time, the overall timeframe for submission of the Business Cases would not be affected.  At the request of the Board, Officers agreed to review how this information was presented in future.


Geoff Paul also provided an update on progress and key issues which could impact upon business case development, details of which were set out in the report.


A key risk was the potential impact of increased construction costs in the coming months. This was an issue which affected Stronger Towns nationally.


David Land invited questions of the report.


David Maddan referred to the update provided in respect of ESAC and referenced the clarification of the land corridor required to deliver the scheme.


In terms of the Town Centre Diversification schemes, David Maddan noted that as the Artist Hub project would not progress based at Vinovium House, the reserve project for the Mechanics Institute and Masonic Hall buildings should be costed as soon as possible.


Tom Smyth noted the issues around the Town Centre Diversification key projects and asked that the CLGU be informed when discussions were concluded to ensure that project changes were in line with delivery aims. He also noted that construction cost increases would be a challenge in the coming months.


As regards the Springboard to Employment and Enterprise and SME Support, South Church projects, Tom Smyth confirmed that the Business Cases were undergoing final assessment by the CLGU. The CLGU had also urged the Board to monitor progress following the submission of the Business Cases. David Land confirmed that this was being discussed. 


AGREED   that


(i)               the progress in developing project business cases for further assurance and confirmation to Government, be noted;

(ii)             the approved submission extensions for remaining Business Case summaries, be noted;

(iii)           the ongoing work in preparing for mobilisation to delivery of Springboard to Employment and South Church SME Support / Enterprise Workspace.