Recommended to Council:
(13 December 2022)
1. This review and update of the business case for the Western Way (WW) project, Bury St Edmunds and, as part of that wider scheme, the replacement of the Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, be approved so that Cabinet and officers can continue to deliver phase 1 of the project and any interim works to the rest of the site on the revised basis set out in this review and in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
2. The existing authorities, financial provisions, safeguards and financial tests for delivery of the project be updated as follows:
(a) The remainder of the due diligence for the second stage of tendering be carried out in accordance with the two new gateways defined in Section E of this review.
(b) For either facility to be included in the phase 1 construction contract, Suffolk County Council must have entered into a formal pre-let agreement for an archive facility and/or pre-school which meets the One Public Estate principles of full cost recovery.
(c) The previous spending caps and financial tests for the hub and leisure centre be replaced by a new combined and reduced net capital expenditure limit of £65 million for the total phase 1 scheme defined in this report i.e. project costs, market analysis, enabling works, construction of the initial community hub, installation of renewables.
(d) In addition to this cap on expenditure, at the time the main construction contract is signed, the phase 1 scheme must not increase the Council’s existing MTFS provision of £724,000 for Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre and, in relation to other ancillary elements of the new hub, be capable of achieving at least a break-even position over the whole life of the borrowing.
(e) In addition to the phase 1 scheme defined in the review, a further capital allocation of up to £10 million be made in the Council’s capital programme for interim works to the remainder of the Western Way site as defined in Appendix 3 of this report and also on the basis of at least a break-even income position over the life of the borrowing.
(f) Subject to consultation with the relevant portfolio holders, approval be given for interim or enabling works ahead of the main contract for phase 1, to be financed from within the new combined WW capital budget of £75m. But only where these works will increase the commercial value of the site irrespective of whether the WW project proceeds or not.
(g) The cash flow risk being managed.
(h) The most beneficial and economic funding method for the project is identified, including entering into agreements with third-party investors if required; and
(i) Any phase 2 scheme for a permanent use of the remainder of the WW site be subject to a new and separate business case to councillors before the conclusion of the phase 1 construction programme.