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Council to agree winners and losers from multimillion pound ‘pot’

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Winners and losers in a battle for millions of pounds will be agreed on Wednesday by Huntingdonshire District Council.

The council’s Cabinet will meet to decide which schemes satisfy their requirements for a share of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which has been accumulated.

It is a huge sum.

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Huntingdonshire District Council has around £26m of CIL receipts currently available for infrastructure projects.

CIL is a planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008, and means developers must pay a contribution for new housing to help deliver infrastructure and to support the development of the area.

The district council Cabinet decides requests over £50,000 and any applications less than this are determined through delegated powers.

Some of the money is used by local parish and town councils and a small portion is kept back for administration.

But the lion’s share is for the district council to allocate and here is what on their list for Wednesday.

Also included are three current projects that officers are recommending for an extension of time which include Warboys village hall, Buckden safe cycle route and Ramsey skate park.

The latest funding round was launched on July 4, 2022, with a closing date of August 28, 2022. Bids received within that round for CIL funding have been assessed by officers to reach the recommendations within this report.

In a footnote to the Cabinet report, councillors will hear that an urgent application was authorised by the leader for works to Ramsey Pavilion Hub.

“This application was assessed and recommended for approval following the process for applications for £50,000 or less,” says a Cabinet report.

“It was agreed to fund the project up to £33,000 with a total project cost of £585,000.”

Cabinet will also be asked to agree an extension of time for Warboys Village Hall until 31st December 2023, agree an extension of time for Buckden safe cycle project until 31st May 2023 and agree an extension of time for Ramsey Skate Park to 31st December 2023.

Cabinet will hear that any requests of £50,000 or less have been considered and approved in line with delegated authority.

The amount of funding to be considered for allocation in a fiscal year will not exceed £500,000 for allocations of £50,000 or less.

The council says that since the last report Holywell-cum-Needingworth have withdrawn their project for the construction of a new community building, which was considered by Cabinet on 3rd March 2021 and approval given for £49,500 CIL funding.

The parish council has now decided to move into an existing building.

Officers have put forward their recommendations -it will be up to Cabinet to decide.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1: Monks Wood Specialist Police Training Facility.

Proposed location CIL funding of £3,835,000 towards £12,300,000 proposed new facility to meet the statutory requirements to train police across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Hertfordshire.

This includes a new shooting range, accommodation, classroom space, training rooms (including replica buildings), taser training facilities and fitness rooms.

Officer Analysis: Decline based on information submitted.

Appendices to business plan (BP) not submitted.

Need for the facilities based on growth is not highlighted, albeit population growth would benefit as well as existing.

The financial elements are not shown in full and apportioned as to how the CIL if approved would cover the needs for Cambridgeshire rather than the 3 counties. This may be covered in the License between the police authorities but not explained fully enough.

The BP does not detail current to future facilities to show if this will be an improvement on what they currently have.

It is noted that the current facility at Alconbury Weald is unlikely to be available after 2023 due to the ongoing delivery of the strategic site.

Recommendation: DECLINE

2:  Sawtry Greenfields Pavilion Redevelopment.

CIL funding of £80,000 towards £800,000.00 proposed extension to current sports pavilion at Greenfields Sports Field, Sawtry.

The new pavilion will include: · 4 changing rooms, · 2 officials’ rooms, · toilet facilities, · kitchen, · club room · storage.

Officer Analysis: This project is well funded by other sources and part of the HDC football strategy.

It is implementation that would improve the existing offering and would support the growth in the key service Centre of Sawtry.

Recommendation: APPROVE subject to 1) Confirmation of full funding, including any S106, other external funding bid decisions and contingency; 2) Risk assessment submission; 3) Confirmation of linked milestones and 4) Confirmation they can enter a legal contract.

Considering the other external funding confirmation required, it is suggested this is time limited for 18 months to enable all match funding to be sought. After this time Cabinet would be updated on the project and a new timeline if full funding achieved.

3: Air Ambulance Facility, Clinical Training and Visitor/Community Hub (MAGPAS).

Magpas is asking for £750,000 towards the £7m new centre at Alconbury Weald.

The new HQ will offer a new air ambulance operational airbase, clinical training centre, including public/visitor centre with patient facilities and community facilities.

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Officer Analysis: This project would support the growth in the population both locally and at a county level.

The facilities will also be used locally for training CPR and so improving the health of the local population.

Recommendation: APPROVE subject to 1) Confirmation of how project is to be fully funded and 2) Confirmation for what specifically CIL funds are to be paid out on.

4: Bentley Close Play Area Refurbishment, Upwood.

Project is for £55,769 towards £61,969 new play area.

Improvements to include new play equipment, safety flooring and biodiversity features including bug houses.

Officer Analysis: Although the growth in this location has not been as great as other locations it is surrounded by more substantial growth in RAF Upwood.

This project would be to improve the current infrastructure offering and to help improve the mental and physical well-being of the community.

Recommendation: Approve subject to conditions.

5: New NHS Health Facility, Alconbury Weald.

Project Summary: £ 6,013,388.00 CIL request for proposed new primary health care facility at Alconbury Weald.

This NHS facility would serve the needs of the growing population at Alconbury Weald and surrounding area, including c15,600 – 16,000 expected additional patients.

This facility would help be a new concept which would move treatment facilities from hospitals to the more local centre, unlike a traditional GP surgery.

Officer Analysis There is a clear link between the need for this project and CIL.

The need for NHS facilities is due to growth in the area and the project will be a huge benefit to the strategic site’s local community.

Recommendation: APPROVE subject to confirmation of final costings.

6: Community Projects, Somersham.

£128,560.58 towards £162,560.58 for proposed improvements around the Norwood Building.

To include expanding the car park, improved groundworks, improved lighting, replacement wet pour around the children play equipment and new outside toilet.

Officer Analysis: This is a group of projects for which the main cost is a toilet block, with one toilet, in the grounds of a community building.

There is S106 funding in place for the sports field improvements. Although the car park works are a smaller cost the evidence of links to growth and the need are negligible.

Recommendation: DECLINE

7: All Weather Outdoor Pitch, Godmanchester.

£150,000 towards £800,000.00 for proposed installation of a full-sized football pitch all weather (Astro turf) football pitch at Bearscroft, Godmanchester.

Officer Analysis: There is a clear link between this project and growth in the area.

There are already funds assigned via S106 and this project is referred to in the Football Pitches plan.

The outcome of an application to the Football Association for £650,000 is awaited. This project will help improve the physical and so mental well-being of the local community, and there has been funding sourced from elsewhere.

Recommendation Approve subject to conditions.

8: Trapped Culverts for Flood Mitigation, Alconbury.

Project Summary £ 129,830.00 CIL request for proposed installation of 10 trapped culverts in Alconbury/Alconbury Weston to ease the flooding issues.

Officer Analysis: Costs are not clear, and responsibilities not confirmed.

Should this be provided, ongoing management and maintenance responsibility and financing would also need to be confirmed by the appropriate statutory body.

This is to ensure it can demonstrate that this will be effective infrastructure to mitigate flood impacts in the longer term.

No other funding confirmed although the application references it is not 100% request.

No funding or support confirmed from Local Highways Authority or Environment Agency (EA), noting links referenced to major government funded Alconbury Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme led by EA.

Recommendation: Decline

The report to Cabinet says that if the recommendations are agreed, this would leave circa £18m remaining to spend on strategic transport infrastructure and other infrastructure needs as stated in the Huntingdonshire Infrastructure Funding Statement.

Cabinet will hear that the projects identified have been considered in terms of how they support growth, their deliverability and risks, benefits and outputs and the extent of match funding being provided.

The current stage of development of the project has also been considered.

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