Agenda item

Capital programme 2019/20 onwards and Capital Strategy

To recommend to Council for approval the capital investment budget and capital strategy for 2019/20 onwards.


In discussion of the item, cabinet members noted and welcomed planned capital investment in key areas such as:

·         school maintenance;

·         broadband infrastructure;

·         software for school transport planning;

·         solar photovoltaic installations and energy efficient lighting;

·         delivery of ross enterprise park;

·         CCTV in Hereford city centre and market towns, making people feel safe would encourage increased footfall;

·         development of Waverley House and Hillside for adult care needs to look after vulnerable residents

Cabinet members also noted that:

·         used council IT equipment was recycled in a number of ways, those items still functional were cascaded through the organisation and to schools, items that were beyond repair were used for spare parts and when no longer of any use items were securely disposed of;

·         it was important that projects which were drawing on European funding be delivered on time as access to the same level of funding might not be available in the future;

·         it was important to be clear on the reasons for investing in economic projects and show that not only would they produce a financial return, they would result in increased business rate income for the council, generate external investment and increase the number of skilled and well-paid jobs in the county;

·         Hereford Enterprise Zone had been very successful and was expected to be built out in two to three years’ time;

·         It was clarified that the forecast spend on the Hereford City Centre Transport Package (HCCTP) was slightly under the budget allocated in the capital programme and that figures were shown rounded to the nearest thousand.

Each of the three scrutiny committees (general, adults and wellbeing, and children and families) had considered the report. The chair of each committee provided feedback of their discussion. Key points noted were:

·         investment into the road network was welcomed and should result in lower ongoing maintenance costs;

·         it was also important to invest in the smaller roads which were vital connections between villages;

·         investment into gypsy and travellers pitches was welcomed, both to improve the condition of existing pitches and to create new pitches;

·         investment in schools was welcomed;

·         the planned investment in Waverley House and Hillside were welcomed and it was hoped that having in house options would save money on places in independent care homes while providing a good standard of care.

Group leaders were invited to present the views of their group. The following concerns were expressed:

·         that the majority of companies that had moved into new or refurbished premises on the enterprise zone had already been based in Herefordshire, with only six moving in from outside the county, it was suggested that a wider spread of investment across the county market towns might allow businesses to grow in the locality they began in;

·         as to whether the proposed property acquisition in college ward was included in the capital programme;

·         that previous year’s accounts had not yet been signed off and reassurance was sought that this was not related to the way in which the council managed its capital projects;

·         that Leominster was also in need of investment, for example in road infrastructure on the industrial estate;

·         about the low level of capital spend in the adults and communities directorate and it was suggested that investment in assistive technologies would be beneficial;

·         about weaknesses in the management of capital projects.

In response to the concerns expressed cabinet members noted that the enterprise zone was attracting outside investment for example with the shell store project and cyber security centre. The defence and security focus of the zone drew on the expertise of former military personnel living in the county and supported business start-ups in this field.  Where businesses grew and relocated, they vacated premises that could in turn be used by new businesses. It was noted that Herefordshire was in competition with other parts of the country to attract and retain businesses and that development opportunities in other parts of the county would be explored in future.


Resolved that the following be recommended to Council:


(a)  the proposed capital programme from 2019/20 attached at appendix 3 be approved;

(b)  cabinet be delegated authority to add the two deferred projects (Countywide Investment in B, C & U roads and Countywide Investment in Strategic Road Network) in appendix 1 as funding becomes available; and

(c)  approve capital strategy document at appendix 4.


Supporting documents: