Agenda and minutes
Venue: Bourges/Viersen Room - Town Hall
Contact: Gemma George, Senior Govenance Officer, 01733 452268 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillor North, Councillor Serluca and Councillor Lamb.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record.
It was agreed to take item 5, Annual Audit Letter 2013/14, as the next item of business.
Cabinet received a report following a referral from the Council’s External Auditor (PricewaterhouseCoopers).
The purpose of the report was for Cabinet to consider and respond to the Audit Letter for 2013/14, prepared jointly by the Council’s external auditors.
Councillor Seaton introduced the report and highlighted the main issues contained within. The Council had received a clean bill of health from the Auditors and as budgets became tighter, the need for rigorous financial management would become more important, therefore the hard work would need to continue going forward. Julian Rickett from PricewaterhouseCoopers added further points of clarification around the summary of the letter and the detailed reports as set out within. The lack of issues reflected well on the authority and based on the work undertaken, it was the Auditor’s view that the Council was financially well run and managed.
Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED:
To approve the Annual Audit Letter for the financial year 2013/14.
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
The Council was required to consider the statutory Annual Audit Letter and make appropriate arrangements in response to recommendations.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
The External Auditor may take on board responses received prior to its formal publication, although he had a duty to produce and arrange for the publication of the Annual Audit Letter as soon as reasonably practical. No specific alternative options were submitted to Cabinet for consideration.
Cabinet received a report from the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Services.
The report sought approval for the completion of the A1139 Fletton Parkway Junction 17(A1M) to Junction 2 road widening scheme and further sought approval for virements to cover the increased cost of the scheme. The report also provided background information explaining the reasons why the cost of delivering the scheme had increased from the original target cost.
Councillor Hiller introduced the report and highlighted the main issues contained within, providing further background to the scheme. The Council’s Director of Growth and Regeneration added further points of clarification.
Cabinet debated the report and key points raised and responses to questions included:
· The significant risk to the authority of not undertaking the scheme would be that the growth agenda for the city would effectively be cut by a third;
· If the road was not widened, major structural work would have to be undertaken instead, representing a cost of around £9m to the Council in full;
· Money from Government and the Local Enterprise Partnership was about growth and not about maintenance of existing assets;
· A detailed risk assessment, as part of the bid, looked at a number of issues and there was an ongoing live risk register as part of the scheme. Risk was embedded into the programme;
· Contingencies were in place, however the level of contamination that was experienced could never have been foreseen;
· There were questions that had arisen with regards to the initial construction around the road, around drainage as well as contamination levels;
· It was believed that the capping layer had been constructed at only half the level at which it should have been;
· There had been other works done to the road and similar issues had not been experienced, this could have been down to the use of a different contractor in the roads initial construction;
· The amount of soil which would be generated from 5km of extra road would be enormous, this could not be piled up on the side of the road and the central reservation was no longer in existence;
· The site was very close to the national conservation site for great crested newts;
· There had been exploration undertaken with regards to depositing soil onto the roundabout bowls, however there were major risks with regards to slippage;
· Forty years ago construction techniques and environmental considerations were very different to how they were at the current time;
· The impact of the increasing traffic loads was significant and the widening of the road would assist in easing this impact. It would also assist with the facilitation of new businesses, creating thousands of jobs for the area;
· The widening of the road was an essential part of the development of the infrastructure for the city;
· The number of houses built on the Great Haddon development would have a further significant impact on the traffic issues;
· The costs were less to the Council, due to the funding secured, than would have been if the Council had ... view the full minutes text for item 5.