Decision details

NMiTE Growth Deal Funding Agreement

Decision Maker: Cabinet member corporate strategy and budget

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

To approve the underwrite of an element (£850,000) of Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal grant funding that has been awarded to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) Higher Education institute.  The underwrite is required under the terms of the LEP Grant Funding Agreement. 

 

Following a successful application by the council to the Marches LEP, NMiTE have been allocated a capital grant totalling £2.3m.  The grant will enable NMiTE to adapt the Blackfriars Street premises and to purchase the specialist engineering equipment required to teach their first cohort of 50 students that are due to begin their studies in January 2020.  A condition of the funding agreement is that in the event of material failure of NMiTE, determined by Shropshire Council as accountable body for the LEP, the council will have 12 months to identify an alternative body to deliver an equivalent set of outputs that would be agreed with Shropshire Council at the time. If the council fails to find an alternative body, and should there be a subsequent clawback by central government of the Growth Deal funds, the council shall within 10 days pay a sum equal to the value of all grant payments which have been paid to NMiTE for the purpose of the refurbishment or improvement of the Blackfriars Street premises (up to £850,000).

 

The council own the freehold of the Blackfriars Street premises, and has granted a long lease to the Department for Education (125 years). The Department for Education has subsequently granted a sub-lease to NMiTE (50 years).

Decision:

That:

 

(a)       Herefordshire Council underwrite up to £850,000 of Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal grant funding allocated to the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) Higher Education Institute.

 

Alternative options considered:

1.         Option 1 – Do not agree to underwrite £850,000 of the Growth Deal grant funding allocated to NMiTE.  If the council were to not agree to the underwrite of £850,000 of grant funding the project cannot progress, which will put the development of the NMiTE at significant risk.  The Growth Deal grant funds are critical to NMiTE to enable the development of the teaching facilities and equipment required to commence the delivery of Higher Education courses from January 2020. 

2.         Option 2 – The council could seek to become directly accountable for the Growth Deal grant funding from central government.  The provision of the allocated £2.3 million grant funding is time critical. Any further delays potentially caused through renegotiating the administration of the funds is likely to mean that NMiTE would not be able to complete the required works to the Blackfriars Street premises in time, putting the development of NMiTE at significant risk.

 

Reason Key: Expenditure;

Wards Affected: Widemarsh;

Contact: Roger Allonby, Head of Economic Development, Economy and Place Email: Roger.Allonby@herefordshire.gov.uk Tel: 01432 260330.

Publication date: 07/08/2019

Date of decision: 07/08/2019

Effective from: 14/08/2019

Accompanying Documents: