Agenda item

Capital Bids 2024 / 25

To consider the report of the Interim Chief Finance Officer (copy enclosed).


The Committee considered the report of the Interim Chief Finance Officer seeking Members’ consideration of the Capital Projects brought forward by Officers (set out in Appendix A to the report), prior to approval of the 2024 / 25 budget and updated Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) in February 2024.


The 2024 / 25 Capital Project Bids were summarised in table 1 to the report with detailed projects sheets provided in Appendix A.  Members were reminded of the groups that each capital project had been categorised into by Officers.  It was noted that any revenue consequences of the approved capital projects would be included in the 2024 / 25 revenue budget.


Members discussed in detail the Capital Project bids submitted, and in response to questions the following information was provided by Officers:


·                  Capital investments were required to ensure service delivery, but also taking into consideration the wider public good.  Some of the items coming forward were cyclical and some end of life, however it was essential that assets were maintained to an acceptable standard.


·                  Parks and open spaces were an asset of the Council and had to be kept up to a minimum standard.  The investment set out in the report allowed this to take place.


·                  The Leisure Services contract was currently out to procurement and financial contributions in respect of leisure centre operation would be a key consideration of this process.


·                  Promenade Park Amphitheatre - Works identified for the Amphitheatre were to repair and retain the existing structure, it was confirmed that nothing was being removed.  Officers advised they would share some photos considered by the Asset Management Working Group with Members to offer further reassurance.


·                  Dengie 100 – Extend Gym and additional car parking - There was some discussion regarding the Dengie 100 Leisure Centre.  Officers outlined that the Rugby Club, who shared the facility, were expanding their footprint with works to start next year.  Members were advised, that with the current facilities the leisure centre was unable to increase its gym membership and the proposed investment would give the opportunity to expand the gym and possibly add a further studio.  It was noted that this capital project was an invest to save project and as part of the procurement process bidders were being asked to look at a range of options for capital investment.


·                  Goldhanger – Decommission current 10 garages on land as now a dangerous structure – In response to a question, the Interim Chief Finance Officer advised that this bid was to make the site safe and any decisions regarding matters such as compulsory purchase would be separate to that.


The Chairperson referred to the recommendation set out the report and reminded Members that the 2024 / 25 Capital Programme would be coming forward at the January 2024 meeting of this Committee prior to final approval by the Council.  Councillor A S Fluker proposed that the report be recommended to the Council for approval with the exception of the Dengie 100 capital bid which should go back and be considered further. This proposal was duly seconded.


Councillor S White proposed that items 12 and 13 (parks equipment replacement) be removed until the entire service for grounds maintenance was reviewed.  In response the Director of Service Delivery raised concern regarding this proposal and advised that the service could not be maintained without the correct equipment.


The Chairperson returned to the proposal from Councillor Fluker.  At this point Councillor W Stamp, raised an amendment to the proposal seeking that the £80,000 (the amount of money requested for the Dengie 100 capital bid) was not lost.  In response the Chairperson advised this was not possible as the proposal from Councillor Fluker was to remove that item from the Capital Programme.


At this point, Councillor Fluker withdrew his earlier proposition and proposed that all project bids go forward, with the £80,000 for the Dengie 100 project ringfenced for the future and be reviewed by the Corporate Projects Board.  This proposal was not seconded.  In response, the Chairperson suggested that all items except item 4 ‘Dengie 100 – Extend Gym and additional car parking’ be noted, and this be brought back to the January 2024 meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee.  This was duly seconded and agreed.




(i)                that with the exception of item4 - Dengie 100 – Extend Gym and additional car parking, the Committee’s review of the project bids set out in Appendix A to the report in preparation to recommend a 2024 / 25 Capital Programme at the Strategy and Resources Committee in January 2024 for approval by the Council in February 2024, be noted;


(ii)              that details in relation to the capital project Dengie 100 – Extend Gym and additional car parking be brought back to the January 2024 meeting of this Committee for further review.

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