To consider a report from the Director for the Economy, a copy is attached as item 8.
Before the Committee was a report by the Director for the Economy, copies of which had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes as Item 8.
The report followed the publication of the Adur and Worthing Housing Strategy for 2020-2023, ‘Delivering Pathways to Affordable Homes’ document and subsequent Delivery Plans and outlined the increasing demand for emergency and temporary accommodation (EA/TA) in Worthing, the Council’s commitment to owning its own stock of EA/TA, and reviewed the options available to the Council for the future of the Victoria Road site, with development of the site as EA/TA the preferred option both economically and in terms of meeting an established local need.
The report sought agreement of Councillors to redevelop this site for the purpose of providing Council owned EA/TA and approval of a budget to progress both a planning application and development on site.
A Member sought clarification in regards to the financial risks associated with the proposals, in particular, whether the financial figures took into account price inflation and whether the optimism bias would be sufficient. Officers advised that a stage approach had been adopted to mitigate these risks. An inflation figure had been applied to the anticipated cost plus an additional optimism bias at 25%. It was acknowledged that the construction industry was very volatile at the moment, but officers had confidence that the project could be delivered within budget.
It was noted that the Council was constantly balancing the cost of building against the rising costs of Emergency and Temporary Accommodation. It was also noted that the proposals were born from the previous administration's strategy and a paper would come back to the Worthing Sub-Committee in due course.
Consideration was also given to the sustainability measures included within the proposals.
The recommendations in the report were proposed by Councillor Rosey Whorlow, seconded by Councillor Vicki Wells and supported by the Committee.
The Joint Strategic Committee
a. approved the preferred option for the future of the Victoria Road site to enable the council to fulfil its statutory housing duties under S188 and S193 of the Housing Act 1996;
b. approved a virement of £440,000 to the temporary and emergency accommodation budget funded by external funding from Homes England. This would increase the overall available budget to £3.541m;
c. approved the release £3.403m from the Temporary and Emergency Accommodation budget to enable the project to progress through planning and to completion of the construction stage;
d. delegated authority to the Head of Major Projects & Investment to invite tenders for the construction work, and to enter into all necessary contracts to enable the project to progress through the construction phase to completion, in consultation with Executive Members;
e. noted that a further report will be presented to the Executive Member post procurement, to confirm the final costs associated with the scheme and the viability of the proposal.
The call-in deadline for the decision will be 5.00pm on the 17th June 2022.