The Council noted that Weyside Urban Village (formerly the Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (SARP)) was a major 41-hectare brownfield regeneration scheme that the Council had anticipated could deliver 1,500 homes across a range of tenures as well as 2,000 square metres of community space and 6,500 square metres of employment space. As such, the Government had designated it as one of its national Housing Zones.
The Council had been working for over 15 years to de-risk the infrastructure delivery and site assembly process. Over 44 per cent of the site was currently in Council ownership, and 100 per cent would be achieved on completion of land transfers with Thames Water. The conditional contract with Thames Water had been signed on 25 April 2019.
Housing was of great significance to the Borough and formed a major theme to the Adopted Local Plan. There was an ongoing shortage of affordable housing, particularly for first time buyers which in turn contributed to a skill shortage in the Borough.
The Council considered a report which sought approval of a capital budget of £359.504 million to enable the infrastructure phase of the Weyside Urban Village Project development to be carried out. The Council had been awarded a £52.3 million grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
An EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) grant of £7.5 million had also been awarded.
At its meeting on 7 January 2020, the Executive had considered this report and had authorised the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to sign and complete the Grant Agreement with Homes England to implement the infrastructure works and draw down the grant expenditure.
The Executive had also endorsed the recommendation to Council as set out in the report.
Upon the motion of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Caroline Reeves, seconded by the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service, Councillor Joss Bigmore, the Council unanimously:
(1) That an additional capital supplementary estimate of £274.057 million be approved to allow a total capital budget of £359.504 million to enable the Council to deliver the infrastructure phase of this scheme.
(2) That £5.781 million of the additional capital budget be placed on the approved capital programme to progress the allotment relocation and funding of the Thames Water agreement costs during 2019-20.
(3) That the Council acts as Infrastructure Developer until completion of the Thames Water Infrastructure in 2026.
The reasons for recommendation cover financial, economic and social benefits.
The budget will enable the Council to deliver the infrastructure for the development ensuring deliverability and control.
The land value will be increased by the infrastructure phase being delivered upfront and ahead of Land Parcel Sales.
The project will also deliver:
· 1500 new homes including 600 Affordable Homes
· 2000 square metres of community space
· 6500 square metres of employment space
· A new relocated fit for purpose Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works
· Extensive infrastructure improvements
· This scheme contributes to the delivery of the adopted Local Plan
· This scheme contributes £233 million in economic impacts for Guildford
The project has significant infrastructure to be put in place to enable the above critical success factors to be delivered. Allocating a capital budget of £317.355 million will enable all of the infrastructure phase to be delivered and will de-risk the site in readiness for the next stage to facilitate the delivery of homes.