To consider the report of the Executive Director of Investment and Delivery and the Portfolio Holder: Inclusive Economy and Third Sector.
The LCR Combined Authority considered a report of the Executive Director for Investment and Delivery and Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector which set out changes requested by applicants in relation to previously approved Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) projects.
Councillor Jeanette Williamson advised that the report updated the Combined Authority on proposed changes to a number SIF Projects. These were significant changes, either in the amount of funding to be provided or in the timetable for delivery and required the approval of the Combined Authority as set out in the constitution.
Dr Aileen Jones, Executive Director of Investment and Delivery, stated that there were eight key changes.
· Firstly, in respect of Knowsley Council’s Access to Halsnead Village project. This was a significant project aiming to deliver a new garden village and land for employment. The project had however been delayed as a result of Highways England approvals for Motorway junction improvements and as a result Knowsley had requested an extension to the delivery deadline.
· In respect of the Liverpool City Region’s cycling and walking network. The original plan had been to support works in the Halton area however as a result of European Regional Development Funding rules this had not been possible. The report was therefore requesting transfer of funding to a scheme in the Wirral.
· In respect of the Music Industry Development Fund. This fund aimed to support this strategically important work in the industry in the City Region. This improvement was approved just prior to the pandemic and it should be appreciated how badly the industry had been impacted by lockdown restrictions. As a result the project had requested extension to delivery times as set out in paragraph 3.25 of the report.
· Mersey Ferry Piers and Terminal. Additional works required to the Seacombe landing stage and piling had been identified. The costs of this would be met by Merseytravel capital programme. However, extra time had been requested to deliver these additional works.
· The Skills and Apprenticeship Hub. This project had been jointly funded from the Strategic Investment Fund and the European Social Fund. As a result of delays in the approval of the European Social Fund contribution and further impact of the pandemic extension to timescales was sought. Given the pressure on business costs it was also proposed that the Hub could meet the full costs of training provision where appropriate.
· Headbolt Lane Station. This was a strategically important transport intervention extending the range of the Mersey Rail network. The report recommended an increase in the budget for this project to meet increased cost of works set out in paragraph 3.33 and additional scope including the purchase of an additional train.
· IPEMU and Train Connectivity. The former project would now be delivered below the original budget and savings were proposed to be transferred to the Train Connectivity Information System project. This project aimed to ensure the Mersey Rail network benefitted from the latest Wi-Fi technology to meet customer demand. This project had experienced some additional costs and an additional £1.2m was requested.
· Cambridge Road Community Learning Hub which was located in an old Victorian school in Sefton had requested additional time to complete the upgrade of the facility.
(a) the changes requested by the applicant Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council with regards to an extension in timescales for the Access to Halsnead Garden Village project as referenced in paragraphs 3.8 to 3.11 of this report be agreed;
(b) the changes requested by the applicants Halton Borough Council for the Walking and Cycling Project funded by Transforming Cities Funding (TCF), specifically a movement of funding from Halton BC to Wirral MBC as referenced in paragraphs 3.12 to 3.15 of this report be agreed;
(c) the changes requested by the applicant Liverpool City Council in relation to the Music Industry Sector Development Fund Project, including changes to output delivery and financial completion as referenced in paragraphs 3.16 to 3.25 of this report be agreed;
(d) changes requested by the applicant Merseytravel with regards to the Mersey Ferry Piers and Terminals project funded by TCF as referenced in paragraphs 3.26 to 3.28 of this report be agreed;
(e) the changes requested to the Skills and Apprenticeship Hub Project currently in delivery by the Combined Authority and part funded from the Strategic Investment Fund as referenced in paragraphs 3.29 to 3.32 of this report be agreed;
(f) the changes requested by the applicant Merseytravel to the timeline and finances for the Headbolt Lane new station project as referenced in paragraphs 3.33 to 3.37 of this report be agreed;
(g) the changes requested by the applicant Merseytravel to timelines and finances to the Rolling Stock projects funded by TCF as referenced in paragraphs 3.38 to 3.45 of this report be agreed; and
(h) the changes requested by the applicant Cambridge Road Community Learning Hub to the timeline and finances for Cambridge Road Skills Project as referenced in paragraphs 3.46 to 3.48 of this report be agreed.