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Decision Maker: Head of Major Projects & Investment
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To make a landlord's contribution of £130,000 to the cost of the installation of a fire protection sprinkler system within the Southern Pavilion of Worthing Pier.
1.0 Summary and Background
1.1 Worthing Pier has a planned capital investment to install a sprinkler system throughout. These works are planned to be undertaken in late 2022 or early 2023. The Council’s capital programme is set two years in advance to allow for procurement and design development and to ensure a coordinated approach is taken across our asset base.
1.2 was assigned the lease on Southern Pavilion in late 2020. The new tenant was Strenson Leisure Ltd who have a strong local repuation for building and operating high quality restaurants along the south coast including the Perch in Lancing and Perch in the Park in Eastbourne. The Council met with their team to understand their proposals for the Southern Pavilion where a full refurbishment and redevelopment was outlined. They set out that an extensive refurbishment would be undertaken to restore the architectural heritage of the site, reveal significant features that had been covered over, and to improve the overall health and safety of the site by removing significant debris and detritus that had accumulated between the superstructure and substructure which birds had been able to access over a number of years.
1.3 WBC officers outlined the Council’s planned and reactive maintenance regime for Worthing Pier and set out that they had intended to carry out a substantial programme of works to deliver a sprinkler system in 2023. Through discussions with the tenant, it was identified that this programme of works would be very disruptive to his new restaurant offer, and could potentially lead to the restaurant having to close for a period requiring WBC to have to compensate the restaurant, and the additional cost that would arise from having to make good a newly refurbished building.
1.4 It was identified that a better value for money option would be for the tenant to carry out the works based on the specification that the Council had prepared as part of his construction programme, and then for the Council to pay for this as a landlord’s capital contribution to tenant's fitting out works.
1.5 The Council maintained oversight of the installation, ensured quality was controlled through the appointment of an independent building surveying company who maintained oversight of the project. It was ensured that the system was properly pressure tested ready for when the remainder of the sprinkler works are undertaken on the pier and can be connected to water mains. The final scheme has been inspected by the Council’s insurer’s Zurich to ensure that the Council’s insurance cover remains in place.
1.6 To ensure that the costs of installing the system were value for money the Council undertook a tender exercise to understand if it could be done more cheaply directly by the Council. This identified that the landlord’s capital contribution approach was significantly more cost effective for the same quality of work.
2.0 Reason for the Decision
2.1 The decision is being taken to ensure that a new sprinkler system is ready in place in the Southern Pavilion ready to be connected with the rest of the system in due course. Installing a sprinkler system will ensure that the building meets current fire regulations, meets the Council’s duties to preserve and enhance heritage assets, and is in line with overall Council objectives to enhance the seafront and visitor offer.
· To not install a sprinkler system. This approach would not address the fire safety issues on a landmark tourist attraction in the town. This was not considered suitable.
· Installing the sprinkler system at the same time as the remainder of the scheme. This would have led to increased costs as it would have required WBC to close the restaurant, and the increased cost of project management, procurement, and preliminaries would have to be covered. This was considered a less value for money and was therefore not pursued.
Publication date: 19/07/2022
Date of decision: 19/07/2022
Effective from: 27/07/2022