Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Misinformation about 'Coatham Links' funding and flooding issues answered

At Redcar & Cleveland's Grand Scrutiny meeting, held yesterday, the Council's Chief Executive, Colin Moore, was asked two questions about Coatham Links and these are the answers he gave:

In answer to the question of whether in the event of planning permission being granted the Council had the resources to complete the Leisure provision he said:

"The cost of the two swimming pools, bowling alley, leisure centre including five a side pitches and dance floor is £11.5 million. The Council has £14million secure through the capital receipt from Persimmon, Sport England Grant and prudential borrowing. This is £2.5 million in excess of the leisure provision requirements.

"In addition there is £12million required for all groundworks, surrounding infrastructure, utilities including a combined heat and power plant, promenade improvements, art works and a new coast guard station. The Council has £11.3million pledged in the forward plans of funding bodies. This can be confirmed after planning permission has been granted. If Planning Permission is not granted there is no need to confirm the funding as nothing will be built anyway.

"In addition Mr Richardson reported earlier in the meeting that the Council had £5million unallocated capital resource. There is therefore more than enough to complete the Coatham Links and carry out further investment in the Borough.

"The Council is looking for in excess of £13million to add a visitor and exhibition centre with viewing tower at Coatham. At present only half the amount necessary has been raised from funders. This is the last element of the scheme and, if permission is granted, will be two to three years away from starting. By then we are very confident the visitor centre will also be fully funded.

"Just to remind Members the legally binding development agreement with Persimmon does not allow any houses to be built without the building of the leisure provision.

"There is no reason for anyone to claim doubt over the funding of Coatham Links. There is no room for doubt. The Council has more than it needs to complete the leisure at Coatham Links"

The second question was about whether the Council was acting irresponsibly in building on an identified flood risk area. Mr Moore's reply was as follows:

"The Council is very much aware that the 1 in 200 year flood plain map shown by the Environment Agency encroaches into the Coatham Links Site. In fact it covers the very eastern end of the site covered by the boating lake. Persimmon Homes employed consultants to look at flood risk issues related to both coastal and fluvial flooding and also to come up with a solution for dealing with surface water drainage generated from the Coatham site.

"That assessment has resulted in the following :

a) Discussions with the Environment Agency in relation to Flood Risk issues

b) Advice from the Environment Agency to build floor levels to a minimum level of 5.19m AOD. This takes account of current predicted worst case tide levels, 400mm to take account of predicted climate change impacts and free board protection of 600mm to all buildings. Persimmon has adopted this position.

c) A formal part of the planning submission has been the preparation of a Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) 25 Flood Risk Assessment. This was completed and submitted as part of the planning submission.

"The Environment Agency are a Statutory Consultee in the planning process and only if the PPG25 Flood Risk Assessment meets their requirements can planning approval be granted. Clearly the Council hopes the groundwork undertaken by Persimmon ensures this is the case. If it doesn't we will revisit and do all things necessary to ensure that the Environment Agency are content."

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