The Chief Executive presented the item and thanked officers from Norfolk County Council who had assisted in preparing the application. It was explained that the preferred scheme, which was a replacement leisure centre in Hunstanton, would be subject to more development work and due diligence.
Officers presented the report which provided an overview of the government’s Levelling Up Fund round two prospectus and requirements and opportunities for the Borough Council to submit an application, as a category, location by 6th July 2022. There were two options which had been considered, with the Hunstanton Oasis being the preferred option.
A copy of the presentation is attached.
The Chair thanked officers for their report and invited questions and comments from Members, as summarised below.
In response to a question from Councillor Crofts, it was explained that the running of the facility was not a consideration in this application and Members were reminded that the project would be subject to development work.
Councillor Morley favoured the Oasis option and asked if it would impact car parking and other projects in Hunstanton. The Chief Executive explained that this project would not impact on the redevelopment of Hunstanton Bus Station and the library. The site proposed for the Oasis was currently under the Council’s control, but other sites would be looked at as part of due diligence.
Councillor de Whalley made reference to the NORA proposal and officers explained that there were likely to be other funding opportunities available to take this project forward at a later date.
In response to a question from Councillor Bone, it was explained that the existing facility would be kept open whilst new facilities were developed and then opportunities for the current Oasis site would be looked at. It was hoped that the new proposed facility would appeal to visitors and residents.
Councillor Kemp addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34 and commented that she supported the proposals for Hunstanton and asked if there would be discounts for residents. Officer explained that Alive West Norfolk currently had concession schemes, a GP referral scheme and worked in the community across the Borough.
In response to a question from Councillor Moriarty, it was explained that the budget being asked for would come from the reserves and would be used for due diligence and exploratory work. Should the application fail, then this work would be ready for any other potential funding opportunities.
The Chair commented that it was important that something was done with the Oasis site if it became vacant as it was a prime seafront site.
RESOLVED: That the Regeneration and Development Panel supports the recommendations to Cabinet as set out below.
1. To approve submission of the Oasis project under round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund as set out in the report.
2. Delegated authority is granted to the Chief Executive and S151 Officer, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance to agree the final application to be submitted to government by 6 July 2022.
3. To approve the budget as set out in the report to undertake further due diligence and development of project delivery requirements for the Oasis project in the period up to the outcome of the bid which is expected at the end of 2022.
4. Subject to the successful outcome of the bid, a separate report to be brought to Cabinet to approve the final scope of the Oasis project and to amend the capital programme for 2022-26 to incorporate the match funding and delivery requirements of the project.