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Town centre improvements over budget ‘due to unforeseen ground conditions’

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Feb 11th, 2019.

Tomorrow councillors have the opportunity to debate and query the Council’s ‘Capital Programme and Treasury ManagementActivity‘ report, that also gives details on what programmes are currently over or under projected spending.

As usual the document also includes information on slippage and changes to planned expenditure. £1.7m of spending originally planned in 2018/19 is to be rescheduled to 2019/20, with details of the main elements given:

• ICT Infrastructure (-£254k). Delays due to identifying an appropriate site for the new data centre. This has now been identified and implementation is underway scheduled for completion by June 2019, following which additional costs to amend and improve the network will be incurred.
• Affordable Housing Highways Improvements (-£150k). The development of social housing by a Registered Social Landlord has been delayed due to site conditions. The road improvements will be undertaken once the issues have been resolved.
• Secondary Schools Reorganisation Phase II (-£760k). Delayed due to the prioritisation of the 21st Century Schools Band A Programme. Schemes are planned for The Maelor School Penley with the work being undertaken in 2019/20.
• Street Lighting (-£265k). A procurement exercise is currently being undertaken which will determine costs for the next two years installation.

Other ‘changes’ are detailed with a net increase in planned spending of £2.4m as compared to the previously reported capital programme. Again, as usual the bigger bits are detailed, including:

• Leisure Improvements (+£130k). Additional improvements to leisure facilities, including changing rooms and lighting at Waterworld, floodlight replacement for the all-weather pitch at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd and improvements at Queensway Stadium.
• Town Centre Improvements (+£53k). Additional costs due to unforeseen ground conditions beneath the previous block paving and public utility services near the surface of the previous paving. The additional expenditure will be funded from the capital reserve.
• Ysgol Penrhyn, New Broughton (+£50k). Construction of a new main entrance funded from section 106 agreements.
• Llay Park Primary School Fire Damage (+£266k) Following a fire at the school in September 2017, work has been undertaken to repair damage to the school kitchen, including building, roof works and replacement kitchen equipment. An insurance contribution is due to be received with the £25k excess being funded from a Catering revenue contribution.
• Pen-y-cae Pupil Referral unit (+£215k). Additional refurbishment to the former Pen-y cae Junior School site for the relocation of the Pupil Referral Unit from Dodd’s lane Gwersyllt. £50k will be funded from previously unallocated schools minor works allocation with £165k from Education revenue reserves.

The town centre improvements (work pictured at the top) was planned at £420,000 and ended up costing £473,000. Wrexham.com understands a ‘Phase 2’ could be on the cards shortly to further improve the town centre. Later in the report the improvements listing also mentions the cost ‘inc. CCTV’.

Further increased spending includes +£1m explained as: “In December 2018 notification was received from Welsh Government that the Authority had been awarded capital funding from the Intermediate Care Fund. £600k will be used to upgrade SEN units and furniture in schools, £36k for new windows at Tapley Avenue Respite Service, and £578k for the ‘Live at Home’ scheme for capital improvements to support individuals to stay at home.”

“+£106k” is also listed as being in relation to settlement of claims for the formerly ‘new’ Wrexham Industrial Estate Access Road, where Wrexham Council were quite slow in sorting out compulsory land purchases, the figure is up from an initially planned zero.

Another grant means +£744k is listed for ‘Public Highways Refurbishment’, explained as: “As part of the final Revenue and Capital Welsh Government Settlement announced in December, an additional £20m will be made available in 2018/19 and 2019/20 for capital investment in local authority roads refurbishment schemes across Wales. Notification was received from Welsh Government on 31 January 2019 that the Authority would receive £744k in 2018/19 and £743k in 2019/20.

The report also indicates £20,000 on new Town Centre directional signs have been bumped to this year, and there is £400k in the planned pot for “Wrexham Town Centre Heritage Scheme” as part of the council’s regeneration plan.

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