1.1.The Cabinet Member for Climate Action Regeneration and Renters is recommended to approve a revised phasing programme for the Ebury Estate Renewal project, with Blocks 7&8 in Phase 1, Blocks 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 in Phase 2 and Blocks 4&9 in Phase 3.
1.2.The Cabinet Member for Finance and Council Reform is recommended to approve the remaining approved budget expenditure of up to £6.7m (from the approved sum of 8.3M) to be re-allocated to design consultancy elements and associated works for the recommended new Phase 2 in the revised phasing programme.
2. Reasons for Decision
2.1. Ebury Phase 1 (blocks 7&8 – shaded white on plan 1 below) is currently in its early construction phase and due to be delivered in May 2024. Outline planning approval for the rest of the blocks for Ebury Phase 2 was given in October 2021 as part of a hybrid planning application for the wider scheme. At that time, it was anticipated that Phase 2 would be split into two distinct delivery phases:
Phase 2A (delivering blocks 5, 6 & 1 – shaded blue on plan 1)
Phase 2B (delivering blocks 2, 3, 4 and 9 – shaded red on plan 1)
(Please refer to the Cabinet Member Report for plan 1)
2.2. Early in 2022, reports of significant increases in the market were reported by Gardiner & Theobald, the project Cost Consultants, which prompted a review of the viability and delivery of the remaining blocks.
2.3. A revised phasing programme is now being proposed which would include the following changes:
· a larger second development phase incorporating blocks 2 and 3 (outlined in red on plan 2 below and;
· a final Phase 3 delivering blocks 4 and 9 (outlined in purple on plan 2 below).
(Please refer to the Cabinet Member Report for plan 2)
2.4. The benefits of this revised phasing programme are:
· This programme demonstrates a significant improvement of circa £16M on the current baseline programme in terms of viability due to the reduced impact of construction inflation by accelerated delivery.
· Accelerates the delivery of circa 70 more affordable units within Blocks 2 & 3 which will be completed circa 12 months earlier than the previous phasing programme.
· Enhanced and accelerated public amenity offering as two squares will be brought forward as part of Phase 2 rather than just one in the previous Phase 2A
· More holistic approach to phasing of the works which improves efficiency and reduce the risk of delay.
· Accelerates the delivery of more of the lower blocks providing more frontage on Ebury Bridge Road and the establishment of the new high street frontage, with the additional benefit of offsetting the impact of the high rise blocks on the conservation area.
2.5. This report seeks approval of the revised phasing programme along with the re-allocation of the remaining approved budget expenditure in the sum of £6.7m (from the approved budget of £8.3M) for design consultancy elements and associated works from the current Ebury Phase 2A programme to the new Phase 2 within the recommended revised phasing programme. Details of the approved expenditure can be found in the Financial Implications section.
2.6. The appointments and contracts with our external professional team are all in place and services can be commenced without variation, subject to the approvals sought in this report.