Folkestone & Hythe District Council tendered two contracts for masterplanning for Otterpool Park, where the Council wish to build up to 10,000 homes over 30 years.
Both contracts were awarded to Arcadis.
The first Contract won by Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited started on the 4 August 2016 and with an extension of 12 months ran up until 3 Aug, 2020.
The second contract won by Arcadis LLP, started on the 24 July 2019 and ran until the 30 April 2020, with no extension possible, according to the contracts register
The net contract value for both contracts was £5,050,875. The net amount paid for both contracts was £5,248,900, according to the council’s payment to supplier data.
Since August 4, 2020, Arcadis have been paid a further £3,094,645 (net), yet there is no evidence of a new contract being awarded to them on the Kent Business Portal, Bidstats or Contracts Finder.
The extra £3.1m is clarified in last year’s budget 2021/22, in Report Number A/20/06 which went before full council on the 24 Feb, 2021. It states:
Up until 2019/20 the costs incurred on the masterplanning work for the Otterpool Park Garden Town project were required to be treated as revenue expenditure [ie they came out of the Council’s day to day budget]. This was largely because the Council had yet to submit a formal planning application for the site, were still in discussions regarding the land assembly for the proposed scheme and had yet to formulate a clear delivery strategy for the project. However, with the outline planning application for the scheme now submitted, the majority of the land assembly completed and the delivery vehicle established, most of the masterplanning costs incurred for 2020/21 and 2021/22 are required to be treated as capital expenditure. It is projected that £3.144m in capitalised masterplanning costs will be incurred in 2020/21 with a further £0.156m in 2021/22. These costs will be met from a mixture of revenue reserves, borrowing and any further government grant secured towards the masterplanning phase of the project. At this stage the additional borrowing of up to £2.196m for the masterplanning costs is proposed to be adjusted against the Otterpool Park delivery budget over the period of the Medium Term Capital Programme.
Now if you recall, Cllr Monk at Full Council on 23 Feb, 2022, stated ” The Otterpool Scheme isn’t costing us money today.”
Cllr Monk (Con), leader of the Council, has been an elected Cllr since 1992. After 30 years one would have thought he would understand the finances of the Council, especially as he has been Cabinet Member for Finance during his 30 years of service. His ridiculous statement the Otterpool Scheme isn’t costing us money today, is plain wrong. Such a statement was either borne out of ignorance or stupidity, or both – take your pick.
Any money borrowed by the Council for the masterplanning of Otterpool needs to be paid back. The Council via its revenue budget has to set aside money from its day-to-day budget to repay the money it borrows, for masterplanning for example, which is known in council speak as the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP).
Now as the council have made clear, the masterplanning costs are now to be treated as capital expenditure [think fixing your roof on your home, fixing your car etc] as opposed to revenue expenditure [think paying the bills, going for a meal etc].
Why do the Council continue to describe the masterplanning expenditure on Arcadis as revenue in its payments to suppliers data, when it should read capital?
Arcadis is a supplier to the Council. It is providing masterplanning for the Otterpool Park scheme. As such, they are being paid out of the the revenue budget, according to the Council’s payment to supplier data. And money to pay back the borrowing for the masterplanning for the Otterpool Park scheme is also being set aside from its day to day revenue expenditure. So, either way Cllr Monk made a ridiculous statement spreading misinformation via ignorance and stupidity when he stated “The Otterpool Scheme isn’t cost us a penny today.”
These cock ups need rectifying sooner rather than later, as they are misleading and not providing transparency, but with our council that’s nothing new.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful