Agenda, decisions and minutes

Extraordinary, Executive
Thursday, 30th July, 2015

Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, RG40 1BN

Contact: Anne Hunter  Service Manager, Democratic Services

Note: at the conclusion of the scheduled Executive Meeting 

Items
No. Item

43.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Philip Mirfin.  The Leader confirmed that Councillor Mark Ashwell would be attending the meeting on behalf of Councillor Mirfin however in accordance with legislation he could take part in any discussions but was not entitled to vote.

 

44.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen declared a personal interest in Item 47, Council Owned Companies Business – Phoenix Avenue and Fosters, by virtue of the fact that her husband was a paid Non-Executive Director of WBC Holdings Ltd.  Councillor Jorgensen remained in the meeting during discussions and voted on the matter.

 

45.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the item included within this Agenda.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can only relate to the item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact Democratic Services on the numbers listed below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

 

Explanatory leaflets are also available in the Civic Offices and Libraries.

Minutes:

 

There were no public questions received.

 

 

46.

Member Question Time

To answer any member questions

 

A period of 20 minutes will be allowed for Members to ask questions relating to the Agenda item.

 

Any questions not dealt with within the allotted time will be dealt with in a written reply

Minutes:

In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited Members to submit questions to the appropriate Members

46.1

Lindsay Ferris asked the Leader of Council the following question:

Minutes:

 

Question

Why has the cost for Phoenix Avenue (excluding the recommended £350,000 contingency) risen by 15% in just over 1 year?

 

Answer

First of all can I point out that this audited tender response has occurred nearly 18 months after the original estimate which is a bit more than “just over a year”.  Officers and I have struggled to see how you have managed to get to a 15% increase where we have only managed 10%.

 

However I believe whether it is 10% or 15% is not really the thrust of your question it is that the increase appears to be large.

 

Now the original estimate was based on work approved at the January 2014 Executive Meeting.  So any building estimate is always going to be higher after the passage of 18 months of time.

 

This is for multiple reasons such as: refinement of the specification which has certainly been the case here; materials costs generally rise with passage of time; such material costs rise even faster when individual items face shortages, for example bricks which are having to be imported; labour costs generally rise with the passage of time; and again as with materials if there is a shortage of certain types of skills the costs rise even faster; eg bricklayers. 

 

This is not just us saying this as the Council owes a duty of care with respect to spending money and therefore its company, WHL naturally asked reputable “Property and Construction Consultants” called Ridge to review this tender response. Their report reinforced the comments I have just made saying, and this is a direct quote from the report:

 

Labourshortageshavebecomeanincreasingconcernasthemarketcontinuestorise.Bricklayersare particularlyscarceduetothesharpincreasein housebuilding,andweareseeingshortagesacrossallof the maintradesandprofessionsduetotheamountof workwithintheindustry.Inadditionmaterialsshortages havebecomemoreof aconstraintespeciallybricksandblocks,howeverwehavestartedtoseet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.1

47.

Council Owned Companies Business - Phoenix Avenue and Fosters pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That:

1)        the resolution of WBC (Holdings) Limited to approve further funding for the build of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters be noted;

 

2)        further funding of up to £2.141million for the development of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters Extra Care from Council capital resources and to on-lend to WBC (Holdings) Limited at interest rate of 6% be approved.

 

Minutes:

(Councillor Jorgensen declared a personal interest in this item)

 

The Executive considered a report relating to a request for further funding for the development of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters Extra Care Home.

 

The Leader of Council explained the necessity for the additional funding to that previously assigned by the Executive, at its meeting in January 2014, to WHL for both Phoenix Avenue and Fosters Extra Care Home projects.  At the same meeting a further sum of £18m was agreed to be made available for future developments subject to agreement by the Executive.  Now that a further quote had been received, plus anticipated increases to the Fosters project, there was a need for £2.141m to be made available from the previously agreed £18m.  By way of clarification Councillor Baker confirmed that it was not new money that was being requested but funds that had already been allocated by the Executive to WHL for development projects.

 

Councillor Baker also clarified that the £2.141m was only required in the current financial year and not future years as was suggested in the financial implications table in the report.

 

RESOLVED that:

1)        the resolution of WBC (Holdings) Limited to approve further funding for the build of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters be noted;

 

2)        further funding of up to £2.141million for the development of Phoenix Avenue and Fosters Extra Care from Council capital resources and to on-lend to WBC (Holdings) Limited at interest rate of 6% be approved.