It’s official, with an extra five million on land acquisitions and the final overall fee paid to the masterplanner Arcadis, the costs of Otterpool Park, where the council wish to build up to 10,000 homes, will climb to nearly £60m.
At the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Sub-Committee, held on Tuesday 14 June, Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Group Accountant, Lee Walker (pictured), made it clear another £5m has been set aside for further land acquisition within the boundary of Otterpool Park.
On the 18 July 2016, Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited was awarded a contract for an initial 36 months, with the possibility of a extension for a further twelve months. The description of the contract was:
Planning, masterplanning and project management expertise on the Otterpool Park development project on behalf of Shepway District Council as land owner.
Contract is to be delivered in 4 stages: feasibility, master-planning, stakeholder engagement & planning application, and post planning application.
Procured via mini-competition under Homes and Communities agency framework “Multi-disciplinary framework panel”.
Commissioned on behalf of the Otterpool Park Collaboration Board
The estimated value of the contract was £3,298,195. According to the Council’s payment data, they were paid £4,428,738 [gross], so taking away the VAT of 20%, shows they were paid £3,690,615 , a difference of £392,420, or 12% extra on the original estimated value.
That said, there was a modification notice placed on the contract via the Tenders Electronic Daily 2018/S 064-143339, making it clear the contract was varied to extend planning application boundary and contract period. Again it was modified in May 2019, so as to cover the period to submission of the planning application, and validation of the application which was previously expected to take place at the end of March 2019. This would have concluded the contract, with Arcadis.
Then on the 23 July 2019, Arcadis LLP was awarded a contract with a value of £1,752,680 for an initial seventeen month period, with no extensions available, However, the contract register says there was an option to extend for a further 43 months and the estimated total value of the contract rose to £6m. To March 2022 Arcadis LLP have been paid £5,691,438 [gross]. This means the net value spend at the end of March 2022 was £4,742,865, leaving approximately £1.25m left on the contract.
This means that between the two contracts, Arcadis have been paid £10,120,175 [gross] and £8,433,479 [net] between 2016 and March 2022. The original contracts were valued at £5,050,875, meaning with the amendments to the contracts, the sums paid to Arcadis will have increased by approx 100%, from the original budget. Now given Cllr David Monk says we haven’t spent a penny on Otterpool Park, we think £8.5m on consultancy fees, shows money has been spent on progressing the development.
We can find nothing that shows Cllrs were informed of this increase expenditure. Perhaps they were, and they like us have missed it.
So given the addition of a further £5m for land acquisition and the money paid to the consultant Arcadis, the Council will have spent close to £60m, and not a sod turned.
Finally, given inflation is a concern not just for the council, but for all of us, Otterpool Park will end up costing more than than the initial £2.9bn projected. But as yet, nobody within the council has informed Cllrs or residents how much more.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime