This report concerns the funding for the Bermuda Connectivity project and also seeks Cabinet approval to award the contract for it’s construction.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Councillor Jeff Clarke
Councillor Jeff Clarke introduced this report summarising the key element of the project and stating that even with increased costs it still offers good value for money. It will assist with economic recovery, provide shorter journey times and provide cycle way connectivity.
Councillor Keith Kondakor raised objections to the scheme stating that proposed developments on the Arbury Estate will provide a link road that when completed will render the Bermuda Connectivity road redundant. He challenged whether a scheme that is environmentally sympathetic should require £1.5m to be set aside for noise compensation. Cabinet was asked to defer its decision to provide time to explore different options.
Councillor Clare Golby (Member for Arbury) commended the Arbury Link Road proposal adding that it had been her idea along with the government Inspector. Concerning the Bermuda Connectivity project, reductions over time in the VCR were noted as were increases in the anticipated cost of the scheme. The project, Councillor Golby suggested, should have been cancelled but instead it was subject to a value engineering review to reduce costs. However, the elements of the project that were removed to reduce costs were potentially those that could help to mitigate the project eg the resurfacing of the length of Bermuda Road and changes to the Bermuda Road/Heath End Road junction. Councillor Golby added that money has been spent from the delegated budget to make the junction of Heath End Road safer but these are often knocked down by heavy lorries. It was noted that the VCR calculation had concluded that the new road would lead to the creation of over4000 jobs. However, as land on the Coventry Road has already been allocated for employment development job creation is not reliant on the proposed link. Cabinet was informed that the public consultation exercise held previously had resulted in widespread rejection of the scheme by local residents. Councillor Golby suggested that the link should be developed only for active transport ie cycling and walking. This would support the Council’s aims and be more affordable. It would also provide a better link to Bermuda station.
Councillor Jeff Morgan (Member for Bulkington and Whitestone) disagreed with Councillor Golby adding that delays would to the scheme would be counterproductive. There was a clear case for pressing on with it.
Councillor Peter Butlin cited the late Councillor Bill Olner who had recognised the need for the scheme and advocated it. Councillor Butlin suggested that the project will have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Councillor Jeff Clarke closed the discussion by observing that the cost benefit ration is 6.0 which is good. The people of Bermuda, he concluded, need the link road.
1) Approve £1.459million from the Capital Investment Fund to increase the existing budget for the Bermuda Connectivity project from £8.900million to £10.359million and add it to the Capital Programme
2) Approve the award of the Bermuda Connectivity construction contract at a cost of £4.833million.