To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached Report.
David Candlin, Head of Economic Development and Property introduced the Report that gave an update on the consequences and financial implications following the decision taken at Full Council on 8 October 2019 to terminate the Calverley Square project. Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following matters.
- The planning permission would remain valid until 14 June 2021.
- Expenditure at the end of Stage 4 was expected to be £6.4m. A couple of legal bills remained outstanding which would add about £1,900.00 Final invoices from the BBC and Mace were also outstanding.
- Overall, final expenditure was expected to be £10.8m of which £10.6m was due from RIBA stages 1-4.
- Funding had now been restored to the base budget and useable reserves.
- Expenditure that had been treated as capital, approximately £6.17m would need to be charged to revenue. As planning consent would remain valid, this would be taken into account when the Council revalued its assets that were part of the Calverley Square project.
- The CPO would remain capable of being implemented until 10 May 2022. There was no power under the 1981 Act to revoke the CPO.
- There was no intention to implement either the planning permission or the CPO consents that were in place.
- Capital works at an expected cost of £2m would now be required for the Great Hall car park, Calverley Terrace, Assembly Hall Theatre and the Town Hall to ensure they remained operational.
- Following an FOI request the Development Advisory Panel minutes for the period between July 2013 to June 2018 had been made publicly available.
- No internal staff costs had been included in the figures.
- TWBC had received 16 invoices to date from Mace – with one still outstanding. Invoices were detailed against a programme and so needed to read in conjunction with the work that had been done.
- Documents were received in digital format, but due to their size (e.g. the contractors proposal was 563 pages, 23MB) it was impractical to send via email. Mace were also due to send a copy of approximately 3,000 files that related to the scheme.
- All documents related to the scheme, were available to Members to ensure that an informed decision could be made. Members were welcome to review the documents at any time.
- The figures included in the report were broken down by individual invoices. Invoices over a certain level were published in the Council’s accounts. Members were also able to view invoices should they wish to do so.
- Mace were in the process of negotiating reimbursements for work that would now not take place. These included diversions of utilities now not required, BT Open Reach and trees that no longer needed to be removed.
- An audit of the scheme had been proposed as part of the closedown report. A decision would have to be taken whether to make those elements of the scheme currently exempt, available.
- Following a meeting with the Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee the appointment of Mid Kent Services would be put on hold whilst alternatives were explored (Recommendation 4).
- Concern that a financial breakdown of particular elements associated with the project were not included:
o The proposal for an extension of the Crescent Road car park was a decision taken by Full Council in September 2017. As agreed, it had been taken forward as a separate project.
o The flats purchased in Grove Hill House by the Council were purchased on investment terms. Purchases were made following approaches by residents to the Council that were reviewed to determine whether they were investments the Council wished to make. The report set out those investments and the benefits of those purchases.
o A core team was appointed to carry out the work for the project and those costs could be broken down. It would however be very difficult to cost the impact of the scheme across the entire Council.
- The intellectual property for the site/development would belong to TWBC.
- It was suggested by some members that the financial details included in the report were not sufficient to make a decision at this time. The reasons were further clarified as being under 3.2 and 3.4 of the options under which a recommendation was not supported.
- The Chair took a vote by a show of hands. The motion was carried 4 to 3 with one abstention.
RESOLVED – The recommendations were supported subject to the removal of recommendation 4.