The programme will help to deliver improved facilities and boost growth locally up to 2018/19. The new projects are as follows:
- £17.44m will be invested into A127 improvements, including the Kent Elms junction, the Bell junction and bridge and highways maintenance. Of this, only £840K will be from council funding, with the remaining £16.6m allocated from external grants from the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF).
- £2.65m budgeted over the next four years for condition works on Southend Pier, as identified in the recent condition survey, including £600,000 for 2015/16.
- £1m contingency budgeted for urgent or priority works each financial year, carried over to the next financial year if not used
- £3.84m budgeted for 2015/16 to build a new waste transfer station and to upgrade the Short Street site for cleansing operation and salt storage. This is in addition to £2.935m already budgeted and subject to the outcome of the current waste management contract
- £460K to remediate the cliff slip and reinforce the cliff against further slippage at Clifton Drive. The scheme is £680K, with £220K already budgeted
- £200K to replace deteriorating masonry above the Maritime Room at the Cliffs Pavilion
- £200K to work up plans and create suitable storage within Southend-on-Sea for finds from the Prittlewell Prince site. This will be delivered by altering part of the museum storage to provide controlled conditions suitable for long-term storage. Work on artefacts by the Museum of London will be completed in Summer 2015 so the capital works need to be completed in 2015/16.
- £190K to refurbish the toilets at Thorpe Hall Avenue
- £7.8m to continue the completion of the Decent Homes programme in 2018/19 and carry out energy efficiency and health and safety works funded through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) major repairs allowance. This means that £32.302m will be invested into the council housing stock over the next four years, with at least £7m each year for major repairs and Decent Homes work.
The new projects mean that nearly £157m will be spent on capital projects in the Borough over the next four years, with nearly 40% coming from external funding sources.
Of the additional £48.565m to be invested across the next four years, £31.3m will be from the external Local Growth Fund, £9.465m from council borrowing and £7.8m from the HRA.
Cllr Ron Woodley, Leader of the Council, says: “Despite the tough economic challenges that we face, we absolutely must remain a forward thinking and ambitious council and this is an ambitious budget in austere times. That is why we are committing to further capital investment in essential things such as the Pier, A127 improvements, wider highways work and safeguarding the Prittlewell Prince finds by ensuring we have the appropriate storage for this internationally important collection to come home at some point this year.
“We know that residents and businesses will be delighted that over £17m will be ploughed into improving the Bell and Kent Elm junctions and that only £840,000 or 5% of the total project costs will have to come from local taxpayers. We will also ensure the long term future of the Pier, our world famous landmark, with £600,000 of capital funding in 2015/16 alone and £2.65m over four years to undertake high priority maintenance. We will also be dealing quickly with the cliffs slip at Clifton Drive with nearly half a million pounds set aside to carry out works there and prevent further slippage.
“I am committed to reducing council borrowing and this budget shows that by committing just a small amount of council funding, we can lever in four times as much of external funding. Despite the austere times this gives us an impressive capital budget to make a difference to important local facilities and infrastructure and shows that we are open for business and here to do the very best for local people and businesses.”