Agenda item

Depot Update

For the Committee to note the update on the project. 



The Cabinet Member of Housing and Property presented the report that outlined the project which was included within the Council’s Corporate Plan 2020-2023.The Council approved the budget to purchase Turnpike Close and the design team had been appointed to work on the scheme for the replacement Depot, including repairs for the DWO team for Housing. 


The design team had reviewed the specification and had produced concept designs. The scheme had paused at the Royal Institute of Architect (Stage 3) of producing a detailed design whilst undertaking works around the fleet procurement were completed.


The outcome of the procurement process would shape the future of the replacement of the depot and designs would commence upon completion of the work.


Site surveys had shown significant works at the site were required to level and prepare for construction for any development on the site. Cawarden were completing these works at a cost of £242,000 with works starting on 17 October 2022 and due to be completed by Christmas.


One Member noted that the purchase of the land had been nearly two years ago and in April 2021, the land was acquired by the Council. It was queried as to why the project was taking up so much time to be delivered.


Clarification was sought on costings around the income received for the demolition of the old site and the cost on developing the new site at Turnpike Close.


The Cabinet Member for Housing & Property highlighted that the expansion of the development was key and paramount as a priority. The projected delivery of new homes within the District needed to be included in the future scopre for the depot to ensure that it would be fit for purpose.


It was noted that the current depot was functioning and fit for purpose but was at a working capacity to deliver the Council’s frontline services. A route review of the waste vehicles was undergoing due to the increase of homes within the District meaning more freight vehicles and parking spaces were required. The new Depot would also be future-proofed.


The future fleet of freight vehicles was being explored: synthetic diesel, electric or hydrogen powered. The fleet would need to be suitable and efficient for the rural mileage.


One Member queried whether there was an aspirational date for the new depot on Turnpike Close to be fully operational.


The Head of Corporate Projects, Policy and Performance confirmed that Officers were working through a stage of processes and designs. The construction budget would be brought to future meeting of Full Council. A completion date was unknown.


Further concern was raised on the delay of the process of the new depot. It was noted that it was agreed to purchase the site at Full Council in November 2020 and the purchase was not completed until April 2021. One Member expected more progress since the 18 months of purchase.


It was highlighted that the new site was larger and had options to lease or sell the surplus of the site. If the Council owned part of the current depot was to be sold, this would make a capital receipt towards the new depot. Consultations and evaluations were taking place on the land.


The Chief Finance Officer noted financial pressures that the Council were experiencing due to external influences that were impacting on budgets. There had been projected deficits beyond 2022 in a previous Full Council report, prior of pressures around inflation and fuel.


It was suggested that the Council apply for investment zones from Central Government to inject urgency into the depot project and other associated projects. The deadline to apply was 14 October 2022.


The anticipated budget for the build of the new depot was queried.


The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property provided an estimate for the construction cost of circa £7 million for the new depot. This indicative figure was estimated prior to knowing the outcomes of the works which affect the future designs, for example: the freight routes, extended routes, type of vehicles that would be used, number of parking bays.


It was highlighted that a definitive budget could not be set until options had been explored. The preferred options would then be defined and costed accordingly.


The Chairman thanked all involved within the project and welcomed further updates being provided at future Committee meetings.




For the Committee to note the update on the project.

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