West Berkshire Council

Agenda item

Capital Strategy and Programme 2016/17 to 2020/21 (C2978)

To outline the five year Capital Strategy for 2016 to 2021, including the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement and the Asset Management Plans for Property and Highways, and to set out the funding framework for Council’s five year Capital Programme for 2016/17 to 2020/21. (Pages 37-152)


(All Members, except Councillor Nick Goodes, had been granted a dispensation by the Monitoring Officer to speak and vote on this item)

The Council considered a report (Agenda Item 15) concerning the five year Capital Strategy for 2016 to 2021, including the Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement and the Asset Management Plans for Property and Highways. The document also set out the funding framework for the Council’s five year Capital Programme for 2016/17 to 2020/21.

MOTION: Proposed by Councillor Roger Croft and seconded by Councillor Jeanette Clifford:

That the Council:

“approves the Capital Strategy and Programme 2016/17 to 2020/21”.

Councillor Croft noted that despite having difficult decisions to make in respect of the revenue budget the Council would continue to invest in the future of West Berkshire. The strategy set out that over the next five years the Council would be investing:

·       £57m for new school places and improvements to existing buildings,

·       £55m in the maintenance and improvement of the district’s highway network;

·       £1.5m for the delivery of superfast broadband across the district;

·       £11.5m in occupational health equipment, home adaptations and supported living for older people and people with disabilities and also supporting looked after children;

·       £3.8m for the maintenance and improvements of parks, open spaces and sporting and cultural facilities.

(Councillors Graham Pask and Ian Morrin left the meeting at 8.20pm and returned at 8.21pm)

Councillor Lee Dillon stated that the Liberal Democrat Group were broadly supportive of the strategy. He noted that the Government funded new school places at £1100 per square metre. This level of funding did not reflect actual build costs in West Berkshire. He therefore requested that the Council lobby Central Government to attain a level appropriate for the area that was not based on a national formula. Councillor Dillon then proposed an amendment which sought to include an additional aim into the strategy. The amendment suggested using capital to generate longer term income for the Council and was designed to focus Members and Officers’ attention on income generation.

AMENDMENT: Proposed by Councillor Lee Dillon and seconded by Councillor Roger Croft:

That the Council:

“actively uses the Capital budgets to help generate income that can support the revenue budget of the Council through longer term investments”.

Councillor Croft stated that he was happy to second the amendment as it would help to focus efforts.

The Amendment was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.

Discussion then returned to the Substantive Motion.

Councillor Garth Simpson stated that the highways element of the Capital Programme (£55m) totalled around 40% of the expenditure. Around £5m would be spent on improvements to the A339 in light of the Sandleford and London Road Industrial Estate developments and £5m would be spent on the conversion of street lights to energy saving LED lights which would generate significant revenue savings. In addition 41% of the budget would be spent on maintaining and improving the highways asset and 15% would be spent on flood alleviation schemes.

(Councillor Laszlo Zverko left the meeting at 8.25pm and returned at 8.26pm)

Councillor Alan Macro reported that he was disappointed to note that in paragraph 4.5.5 of the report it stated that the Council would have to make available around £8m of funding to meet the demand for new school places over the next five years due to a shortfall in funding from the Department for Education.

Councillor Alan Law stated that, other than the Atomic Weapons Establishment, the Council was the largest investor in the district and invested around £30m annually on the economy.

Councillor Jeanette Clifford stated that the strategy was good news and she was pleased that it had been so well received.

Councillor Croft reiterated that the strategy identified £140m of capital investment in West Berkshire over five years. The funding would be derived from the Council, Central Government, the Local Enterprise Partnership and developer contributions.

Prior to the vote being taken the Monitoring Officer announced that the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/165) (2014 Regulations) came into came into effect on the 25 February 2014 and as a consequence the Council was required to record the names of Members voting for and against the budget proposals.

FOR the Substantive-Motion

Steve Ardagh-Walter, Peter Argyle, Pamela Bale, Jeff Beck,  Dominic Boeck, Graham Bridgman, Paul Bryant, Anthony Chadley, Keith Chopping, Jeanette Clifford, Hilary Cole, James Cole, Roger Croft, Lee Dillon, Lynne Doherty, Billy Drummond, Adrian Edwards, Sheila Ellison, Marcus Franks, James Fredrickson, Dave Goff,  Manohar Gopal, Paul Hewer, Clive Hooker, Carol Jackson-Doerge, Marigold Jaques, Mike Johnston, Graham Jones, Rick Jones, Alan Law, Tony Linden, Mollie Lock, Alan Macro, Tim Metcalfe, Ian Morrin, Graham Pask, Anthony Pick, James Podger, Garth Simpson, Richard Somner, Anthony Stansfeld, Virginia von Celsing,  Quentin Webb, Emma Webster and Laszlo Zverko.

The Substantive Motion was put to the meeting and duly RESOLVED.


Supporting documents: