To receive the report of the Head of Communities & Place.
The Major Projects Manager and Economic Development Officer jointly presented the report, the purpose of which was to obtain Member approval to submit the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre proposals to the Levelling Up Fund by 6th July 2022 and to obtain Member approval to continue to develop Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre designs to Full Planning.
A comprehensive slide presentation was delivered highlighting the following:
· Progress since 13th June Full Council meeting
· Costs and benefits
· Site plan
· Next steps
· Construction phase
· Operational modelling
· Community comments
Councillor McKenzie joined at 6:47pm.
A discussion then took place.
Many Councillors expressed their support, congratulated and thanked the Major Projects Manager and Economic Development Officer for all the great work carried out.
Following queries from Councillor Christie, it was confirmed that letters of support had been received from the Universities and progression would be made towards a written commitment. Planning would progress in parallel to the design build.
In response to a query from Councillor Lock, the Economic Development Officer explained why it would be difficult for the bid to come back at a reduced amount and clear and strong justification would need to be provided.
Councillor Newton advised of Sir Geoffrey Cox, MP enthusiasm for this project.
Following a query from Councillor Manley to the exact location of the site, a satellite image was displayed on the screen.
The Major Projects Manager advised that not meeting the deadline was a risk and had been entered on the risk register. He also advised that if problems occurred and were communicated to the LUF team they would be receptive if mitigation can be shown.
The Head of Communities & Place advised if there was an underspend on the project then funds would be returned.
Following a query from Councillor Jones regarding the commitment of the Universities, the Head of Communities & Place advised that negotiations are yet to be had, however, the intention would be to tie the Universities in for as long as possible for certainty. The Universities would also want security of tenure.
It was proposed by Councillor James, seconded by Councillor Newton and –
That in consideration of the risks associated with the project - the following recommendations from the report be approved -
o The capital programme to be increased by £17.3 million to cover the full costs of the scheme (of which £15.6 million will be external funding)
o That the funding requirement will take the form of external borrowing.
o The Council’s approved capital borrowing limit be increased by £1.055 million to £7.70 million
(Vote: For – Unanimous)