Reporting Person – Giorgio Framalicco
The Executive received a report which provided an update on the work to date in relation to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) project and identified a number of key issues and actions in relation to the delivery of the project. Councillor Kemp, Portfolio Holder, drew attention to a clerical error in the report which named Councillor Johnson incorrectly as Shadow Portfolio Holder. It was noted that the Shadow Portfolio Holder was Councillor Barker.
Councillor Kemp explained the three main areas which required addressing before the complex project could move forward. Taking into account those areas and associated work streams, Councillor Kemp informed the Executive that a revised timetable was proposed for the project with a revised start date to the commencement of physical works until later in 2022/23. Members were advised that updates on the project would be published on the Council’s website.
Regarding the need to submit two planning applications for a temporary and permanent access to the aggregates site, the Executive was advised that it was hoped for the applications to be submitted at the end of October 2021.
Following a question concerning road closures during the project, the Executive heard that plans were currently being worked up and would be scrutinised by Officers. A road diversion mitigation strategy would be created which would include options to mitigate against impacts of diversions and minimise disruption.
Members discussed the potential risk a delay in starting work on the project could have for Homes England delivery requirements. The Portfolio Holder advised that Officers had discussed the potential delay with Homes England and would continue conversations with both Homes England and Network Rail. The Executive was informed that Network Rail was fully engaged on the project and was an active and key partner. Network Rail was aware that the Victoria Arch bridge was reaching the end of its life expectancy, and Network Rail was also aware that improvements to the rail line were dependant on the capacity at Woking station.
Following a question regarding the Council’s commitment to consult on the HIF housing numbers as part of the Town Centre Masterplan, it was noted that the study would be undertaken by specialist consultants and was expected to take about three months. The Executive heard that the core objective of the study was to check that the proposed housing mix to be delivered as part of the HIF project was aligned with current market trends.
That (i) the content of the report, including the progress of the project to date, next actions and project dependencies, be noted; and
(ii) the Director of Planning, in consultation with the Executive Member, be delegated to reach agreement with Homes England and Network Rail on the proposed revised timetable for the project noting a revised start date to the commencement of physical works until later in 2022/23.
Reason: To update the Executive on the project, key matters and rescheduled timetable.