The report will follow in an Additional Papers pack once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee.
The Head of Planning Regeneration and Leisure Services presented the report in respect of the Redditch Town Investment Plan Business Cases. Prior to the presentation of the report, Officers apologised for the late circulation of the reports contained within the Additional Papers pack.
During consideration of this item the following was highlighted for Members attention:
· Information included in the appendices to the report was not complete, however the bid would continue to be worked on until submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities on 29th June 2022. It was acknowledged by Officers that this was not ideal, however it was clarified that the deadlines were set by Central Government and were extremely tight and challenging. It was confirmed that the risks of the projects had been examined by relevant Officers within the Council who were satisfied with the proposals due for submission. It was also clarified that the risks and project timelines would be carefully monitored by North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWEDR) along with the S151 Officer at the Council.
· In respect of the Redditch Digital Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, Officers informed the Committee that the business cases had identified that the project would need further funding of £2m due to contingency costs and consideration of the future cost of inflation. It was noted that there would be discussions undertaken with external funding sources including the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) in order to potentially provide additional support in any shortfall in costs.
During a robust debate, the Committee once again highlighted the lack of detail contained within the report and appendices and the difficulty in scrutinising a report which only provided limited detail. Members stated that it was positive that the Borough had received £15.5m to undertake these projects. However as this was such a significant amount of funding it would have been preferable to see a thorough breakdown of the allocation of funds in order to have a better understanding of the proposals. Officers understood Members’ frustration regarding the limited information contained within the report however it was reiterated that updates needed to be continually made until the formal submission date of the bid on 29th June 2022.
Further detailed discussion followed regarding the positive impact the funding would have on the Town Centre and that it was important to get the business cases in by the deadline in order to ensure that all available monies would be able to be drawn down. Members were in agreement that this was an exciting and aspirational opportunity for Redditch Town Centre.
On being put the vote it was
the two business cases attached as Appendices 1 and 2 be endorsed and used to present summary information for submission to the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities on the 29 June 2022.