Report of the Executive Director, Environment.
The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Environment which provided an update on progress of each element of the project, the issues encountered and proposed next steps. The report also sought approval to draw down additional funds from the previously approved budget to enable further scheme development.
An Officer stated that the project had five interrelated areas as outlined in the Officer report. He advised that, to deliver high quality schemes in all five areas, a bid for additional funding from the On-Street Parking Reserve (OSPR) and/or Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be submitted. If additional funding was not secured, value engineering methods could be used, e.g., lifting the old natural stone paving on the Eastern side of Moorgate and reusing the best paving stones. The Officer stated that it might not be possible to deliver certain elements of the scheme if additional funding was not obtained.
A Member asked for confirmation that the pedestrian overpass above Moor Lane would be included in the work. An Officer confirmed that these works would take place but a date was dependent on the progression of building work at 21 Moorfields. A Member stated that this delivery was a condition of 21 Moorfields being occupied.
A Member stated that the inclusion in the report of a map of the inter-related work areas would be useful. An Officer advised that there would be further reports on the specific schemes and drawings would be included in these.
A Member asked if it would be appropriate to combine the Finsbury Circus Western Arm project and the Finsbury Circus project rather than having two separate projects.
An Officer stated that currently work was taking place to secure funding for Finsbury Circus and progress with a contract for tenders. He advised that an appointment would take place in the next month and it would then be possible to look at timescales. He further advised that the Finsbury Circus project was being led by City Surveyors with a client whereas the Finsbury Circus Western Arm was an in-house project. Currently different drivers, technical complexities and programmes behind each project meant the schemes could not sensibly be combined at this stage.
An Officer stated that it was possible that in the future, the Finsbury Circus Western Arm be formally progressed at Gateway 5 through the Cool Streets and Greening Programme.
A Member suggested a table showing anticipated construction start dates, length of works and anticipated finishes would have been helpful. He stated that the Western Arm anticipated start date had been shown as Autumn 2023. He asked whether this was likely and whether the Western Arm would be open for the summer of 2024. An Officer stated that his was dependent on works to 84 Moorgate being completed. Officers had been advised these had been delayed and the developer would be in place until March 2024.
A Member asked which of the five projects outlined in the Officer report, was likely to be the first to be undertaken. An Officer stated that the first scheme was likely to be Ropemaker Street/Moorgate/South Place/Finsbury Pavement junction. Police approval had been given for the reconfigured police checkpoint and it was anticipated that TfL approval would be received soon. Islington Council were familiar with the preferred design but still had to give final approval. A Member asked if works could commence in 2023. An Officer stated that he would submit a Gateway 5 report to the Sub-Committee in the autumn but work was unlikely to start in 2023.
Members stated the importance of having a masterplan of the public realm, in its entirety and that this should include a plan.
RESOLVED, That the Committee
1. Note the progress made on the various elements of the project;
2. Note the revised timescales for Ropemaker Street junction improvements;
3. Approve the drawdown of £256,375 from the already agreed and secured funding allocation of £1,819,795 to continue the design development and assessment of each element of the project;
4. Approve a revised current project budget of £569,327 (including risk) as set out in appendix 2, table 2;
5. Approve the risk register in appendix 3 with the requested costed risk provision of £48,500, which is to be drawn down via delegation to Executive Director Environment;
6. Note the revised cost estimate of £430,022 for the 101 Moorgate Section 278 works, increasing the overall budget estimate by £30,022;
7. Note the intention to make further funding requests of an estimated £3.2 million to either the OSPR or CIL to progress elements of the work outlined in the Officer report and that this is reliant on further detailed work regarding feasibility.