Reporting Person – Leigh Clarke
The report before the Committee set out the Authority’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) for the period 2022/23 to 2025/26. The Strategy outlined the financial forecast for Woking Borough Council over the period following the approval of the 2022/23 budget in February 2022. The outlook over the period remained difficult to assess and it was emphasised that the financial forecast would remain under review, with any revisions to be incorporated into updates to the MTFS in July 2022 and throughout the year. It was noted that a full recovery was assumed to extend beyond the three years of the MTFS.
In terms of savings, over the past year the Council had identified £4.8m of savings over 2022/23 to 2024/25. The savings requirement for the coming four years was forecast to be £5.5m, of which £3m related to assumed withdrawal of Government support.
As part of the Strategy, the Executive was asked to consider a loan facility to Thameswey Energy Ltd. towards the costs of the Heating Network Investment Programme, moving the Byfleet Flood Scheme into the approved Investment Programme, allocating an additional Restrictions Grant for the delivery of a Digital Centre of Excellence, including the Old Woking Community Centre project in the Investment Programme and transferring the assets of Kingfield Community Sports Centre Ltd. to the Council.
Councillor Johnson, Shadow Portfolio Holder for
That (i) a 12 year annuity loan facility of £4.6m be made available to Thameswey Energy Ltd (TEL) at 1% over the PWLB interest rate, as the Council contribution towards the Heating Network Investment Programme (HNIP) government loan funded project for Network Extension and Decarbonisation works at Poole Road Energy Centre, and the Council acts as guarantor for the BEIS loan to TEL;
(ii) the Byfleet Flood Scheme be moved from the suspended Investment Programme into the approved Investment Programme and an ‘In Principle’ agreement to a contribution of £5m be provided to the Environment Agency so that the project can progress to Outline Business Case;
(iii) Additional Restrictions Grant of £400k be allocated to the delivery of a Digital Centre of Excellence incorporating a business support incubator and accelerator service. A proposal for capital improvements to facilitate this service to be considered at a future meeting of the Executive;
(iv) the Old Woking Community Centre project be included in the Investment Programme at a total project cost of £2m of which £1.4m to be funded by the Council through S106 developer contributions;
(v) the assets of Kingfield Community Sports Centre Ltd (KCSC) be transferred to the Council and the company dissolved; and
RECOMMENDED to Council
That (vi) the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) report be approved.
Reason: The decision is sought to agree the framework for Officers to develop further proposals for consideration, in due course, by the Council to ensure the medium term financial stability of the Council.