To consider a range of investment options, contract for refurbishment, building contracts, design changes and appointment of a consultant, in relation to Grange Lido and Promenade.
Note – In accordance with Section 100B(2) of the Local Government Act 1972, copies of Appendix 3 to the report are excluded from inspection by members of the public as it contains information as described in Schedule 12A of the Act, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, as follows:-
- Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
The Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder (Deputy Leader) presented a report setting out a range of investment options, a contract for refurbishment, building contracts, design changes and appointment of a consultant, in relation to Grange Lido and Promenade. The report set out the following options that had been proposed for the Grange Lido and Promenade:-
· To open up the Lido site to the public and for it to be used by the public after being closed for 27 years;
· Re-purpose the site and undertake essential structural repair works to stop further structural decay which will only lead to increase in costs for future administrations;
· To upgrade the Grange Promenade and improve connectivity from the Promenade to Town centre;
· To secure the Coastal Community Fund (CCF) investment of £1.1million for Grange and secure wider investment for the Morecambe Bay area;
· Undertake essential structural repairs to sea defences along Grange promenade;
· To upgrade the Children’s play area sited on the Grange promenade, consulting with local residents and families;
· To re-surface the promenade which is showing signs of disrepair;
· To encourage greater tourism to the Grange area and wider Morecambe Bay area; and
· To regenerate the site but not preclude the site being used as a Lido in the future.
In running through the recommendations, the Portfolio Holder highlighted an additional recommendation which was that ‘all the above recommendations are conditional upon the confirmation and satisfactory negotiation of the terms of the coastal communities funds grant agreement such to be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, the Section 151 Officer, the Monitoring Officer and the Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder’.
The report set out a brief history of the Grange-over-Sands Lido and Promenade Sea Wall which was an iconic and unique asset in the district having been constructed in 1932 and was listed by English Heritage (now Historic England) as Grade II in 2011. While the site was not currently on the ‘at risk register’, the report highlighted a potential future risk if work was not to progress with the structure.
The Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder set out the rationale for intervention and highlighted the deterioration of a number of features of both the Lido and the Promenade Sea Wall. This led to Cabinet approval being granted to the Council on 23 January 2019, to move forward with the preferred design options for the Lido and progress to planning and listed building consent for the Lido (attached as Appendix 1 and 2) and tenders prior to returning to Cabinet, to seek approval to award the contract. Highlighting that the Planning Committee was due to consider the proposals on the Promenade Sea Wall, on 25 March 2021. A successful bid was made by South Lakeland District Council, as lead authority, to the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), securing funding of circa £1.1 million towards Grange-over-Sands Lido and the Promenade stabilisation and refurbishment works. Members were informed that consideration should be given to the CCF bid, as it was believed that if the proposals for the Lido and Promenade Sea Wall were not taken forward, then the funding would be at risk.
The report then set out information relating to the Tender process (details set out in the Part II Appendix 3), which initially commenced in March 2020, but was then re-tendered commencing in July 2020 to ensure value for money for the scheme. Two bids were submitted, both over budget and agreement with the Procurement team allowed for negotiations to commence, in order to agree value engineering options as an attempt to achieve the original pre-tender estimate. The Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder highlighted the options set out in the report and that the preferred option was Design Option 3b, which focused on executing a series of well-considered stabilisation measures, measured to preserve the building and structural elements at greatest risk of degradation alongside a series of upgrades set out at Appendix 4 to the report.
The Report set out the financial implications and highlighted a shortfall of £867,047 which was needed to complete the works on the preferred value engineering option and suggested that a number of earmarked capital reserves for specific purposes as set out in the Reserves policy be used to offset the shortfall, which if used, would require approval by the Council meeting.
The Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder emphasised the importance of the project and informed Members that the site could eventually provide income for the Council via the refurbished buildings. In concluding the report, the Portfolio Holder thanked officers and Members for their commitment to this project.
Members echoed their thanks to the Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder and officers for their efforts to move forward with the plans for Grange Lido and Promenade Sea Wall that remained an important project on a unique asset. Further discussion raised cross-party support for the project and emphasis on the complexity of the project that represented the beginning of a journey towards the regeneration of Grange Lido and Promenade Sea Wall. Members raised questions on the possibility of fund raising from groups like Save Grange Lido and whether the commitment on Berners Lane Car Park to ring-fence any funds related to the sale of the land for the lido regeneration.
In seconding the proposal, Councillor Jarvis emphasised the positive impact of the project to rejuvenate the Lido and Promenade Sea Wall in Grange including the stability of the structure and the creation of longer term options of use along the entire promenade. He went on to highlight the considerable costs and the shortfall in funding for the project but reiterated the importance of the project and the need to accept that this was the right thing to do in order to restore Grange Lido and Promenade Sea Wall. He added that having reviewed the proposal with the Section 151 Officer, they were happy that the Council was in a position to develop the site.
The Leader asked the meeting if the motion with the addition was agreed. There was no dissent.
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) the scheme be approved, in order to move forward with contract award to the preferred bidder as outlined in the Part II appendix report, for the contract to refurbish the Grange Lido/ Promenade subject to grant of planning permission as outlined at 2.1(4);
(2) delegated authority be granted to the Director for Customer and Commercial services in conjunction with the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services and Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Democracy to enter into the appropriate building contract for the works;
(3) the appointment of IBI Group and sub consultants through the Bloom procurement framework to undertake RIBA Stages 5 & 6 for the project and to delegate authority to the Director for Customer and Commercial Services in conjunction with the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services and the Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Democracy to enter into the appropriate contracts be approved;
(4) the design changes for the Value Engineered scheme and delegates authority for officers to seek amendment to the current planning permission be approved; and
(5) Council be recommended to approve amendment of the Capital Programme to include the full value of the capital works.
(6) all the above recommendations are conditional upon the confirmation and satisfactory negotiation of the terms of the coastal communities funds grant agreement such to be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, the Section 151 Officer, the Monitoring Officer and the Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder.
Reasons for Decision
The project is linked to the following Council Priorities:-
· Engagement with the private sector and public sector partners will be central to the Council’s approach to helping grow and develop the economy;
· We will when opportunities present themselves make best use of our property portfolio to support economic growth, through the use of our current and future asset base; and
· Through our economic development strategy we will continue to build on our traditional strengths, and pioneer new industries that make the most of our place. We will promote new ways of working so that businesses can compete and reach their potential whilst enjoying everything that is special about living in South Lakeland.
· We will reduce the Council’s carbon emissions by reducing our energy use through the efficient management of our land and buildings and be an exemplar to others; and
· We will support Cumbria County Council and local partners with their strategies for active travel.
Do Nothing: This would ultimately pass the liability to future administrations, whilst increasing any future costs of refurbishment. Structural deterioration onsite is exponential and the likelihood of having to address partial or complete structural failure onsite will increase. There is a high risk of ending up on the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register. There is reputational harm to the council to consider with this option, and already there is community frustration with a stop-start approach to feasibility works over the last few years. This is not a recommended route.
Community Asset Transfer: Site handed over to third party in its current state on a long term leasehold basis. It is not reasonable or advisable to pass on this dangerous liability to a community organisation. It is unlikely that a community organisation would take on such a liability. There are well-documented and severe structural issues on site, along with the liabilities around the sea wall and coastal defences. This is not a recommended route.