Press Release - New Romney Town Council Re-Commits to Delivery of New Community Hall/Sports Pavilion and Nursery Project Budget-Led Design
Published: 17 January 2023
New Romney Town Council – Press Release
Issued 16th January 2023
New Romney Town Council Re-Commits to Delivery of New Community Hall/Sports Pavilion and Nursery Project Budget-Led Design
At its Full Council meeting on Wednesday 11th January 2023, following significant work towards the development of a Community Hall, Sports Pavilion and Nursery Project re-design that could be delivered within a set budget, New Romney Town Council decided to proceed with this traditional-build project based on the current outline design as presented to the Council. This decision, which was due very much to the re-designed project now being achievable within budget, was also possible due to the fact that, some 10 months after submitting its application for borrowing approval to part-fund this project, the Town Council had finally received consent to borrow the required £1 million and project funding had, therefore, been secured.
It was of note that, had the Council decided to proceed with the project in its original form in January 2022 and signed a construction contract at that time, it would still not have had the funds in place with which to pay for the contract a whole year later. Only now can the Council proceed to contract with surety of available funding – thus, at that time, the Council had made absolutely the right decision not to sign any contract and, instead, to review the project’s finances and move forward in the direction of a budget-led project, despite the fact that this would require a project re-design. Nevertheless, the Council noted that, having now reached a point whereby the project can be progressed within the available budget, expediency moving forward would remain important in the delivery of this project, particularly due to past delays – in the main as a result of the extensive time taken for the project to go through the District Council planning and legal processes prior to finally acquiring formal planning consent along with the associated s106 Agreement.
In order to avoid further delay, having ascertained that the project could now be achieved within budget, it was formally agreed by resolution of the Council that the appointed architect be instructed to develop a full planning pack relating to the new project design and submit the new planning application on behalf of the Town Council following a pre-submission meeting with the District Council’s Chief Planning Officer to minimize any risk of further planning delays. It was also formally agreed by resolution of the Council that the appointed Project Management Team be instructed to develop a revised project tendering pack in tandem with the planning submission and to advertise the revised contract opportunity via the Government Contract Finder website as soon as a new planning consent is acquired.
It was noted at last week’s meeting, that the Town Council could consider going down the route of installing modular buildings, as suggested by Councillor Wimble, and that such buildings could be equally as attractive as a traditional build, however, it was the view of the Council by a very strong majority – as demonstrated by voting at the meeting - that, as a traditional build was now achievable within budget, it was preferable to go forward with a traditional build project. Thus, the architect and project management team were instructed to take the project forward in its current form.
The Council is now looking forward to taking this project back through the planning process and hopes that, with the assistance of the District Council Planning Department, this can be dealt with much more expediently this time so that the project can go back out to tender as soon as possible with a view to awarding a contract and commencing construction on this long-awaited project, which, due to a number of unforeseen circumstances alluded to above, has now been in development for some 6 years - since the 2016-17 civic year, as can be seen below:
Project Management Team appointed after time spent engaging firstly in initial public consultation regarding potential uses of a capital receipt from sale of old allotment land which had concluded in 2013 and subsequent drafting and approval of a Capital Spending Plan which identified this project therein together with an initial funding allocation - and then a period of stakeholder engagement and further public consultation to establish a basic idea of what this project should provide.
1) Architect appointed to develop the project design for planning submission.
2) Disposal of remaining ex-allotment land approved, having first sought Government approval for disposal, to part-fund the project.
Submission of an application for £1 million Public Works Loan approved (to be submitted following granting of planning consent) following conclusion of public consultation delivered by Royal Mail to every address in New Romney.
Project Planning Application submitted to Folkestone & Hythe District Council.
FHDC Planning Committee approved the project planning application subject to associated s106 Agreement some 13 months after submission to the Planning Authority.
Tendering Process undertaken, advertising the contract opportunity through the Government portal.
1) Original Project Format halted as significantly over budget and no prospect of bringing the design into budget. Project re-set as a Budget-led project and re-design commenced.
2) Formal Decision Notice received (some 21 months after planning consent was approved by the District Council Planning Committee) confirming planning consent for this project following protracted negotiations to finalise terms of s106 Agreement.
3) Application for Public Works Loan formally submitted – further delays then encountered with a protracted 10 month process leading to approval.
1) Consent to borrow formally acquired, securing availability of £1 million Public Works Loan to part-fund the project.
2) Submission of New Planning Application approved by Town Council in respect of re-designed project.
3) Publication of new Contract Opportunity approved by Town Council on acquisition of planning consent for the project in its current format.