On the 1st February 2018 it was announced that IBC had been successful in its bid for Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF). A £9,868,351 allocation has been made to the Council for this scheme. This fund will contribute towards the capital cost of a Country Park and two railway bridges (one vehicular and one pedestrian/cycle) which are strategic pieces of infrastructure required to support the development of Ipswich Garden Suburb.
IBC have since received the formal grant letter for HIF from Homes England. This has set out that IBC will need to enter into a bespoke Grant Determination Agreement (GDA). It is intended that Crest Nicholson will deliver the three infrastructure items as part of their development on the Henley Gate neighbourhood of Ipswich Garden Suburb. As such, it is expected that a further legal agreement will need to be produced to cover the funding being passed from IBC to Crest Nicholson.
In addition to the GDA, there are certain pre-contract conditions from Homes England, which need to be met prior to the GDA being completed. One of the pre-contract conditions requires evidence that the Council has sought independent legal advice to ensure that the HIF transaction complies with State Aid requirements.
To that end, external legal advice is required to work on behalf of IBC to cover the above matters. The following quotes for the work have been received from Pinsent Masons:-
· State Aid advice - £8,000
· GDA & subsequent agreement with Crest – Amount of work with both elements will vary depending on negotiations so fixed quote cannot be provided. Costs for the GDA have been estimated at £3,000 - £5,000. The Crest agreement will likely be at least the same again.
Total could be up to £25,000
Pinsent Masons are already involved with the Ipswich Garden Suburb, advising the council on the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and the S106 agreements associated with the Ipswich Garden Suburb planning applications currently lodged with IBC for determination. Given the extensive background Pinsent Masons have on the IGS project and the limited timescales involved with completing the GDA and associated conditions and other agreements, it is considered in the best interests of the Council for Pinsent Masons to continue to represent IBC on this matter. The costs of the work will be covered by the Ipswich Garden Suburb Capacity Funding budget (where not recoverable from the relevant developers). To go out to competitive tender is unlikely to result in any better outcomes or level of service than that offered by Pinsent Masons, and inevitable would delay decision-making, thereby jeopardising the council’s ability to meet the set deadlines required as part of the HIF. Additionally, such a process may also result in the council incurring higher costs.
The Ipswich Garden Suburb Capacity Funding was awarded to IBC in recognition of the demands on resources when dealing with such large, complex schemes. The bid securing this funding sought up to £54,000 to cover matters relating to infrastructure delivery. On that basis there is adequate provision available within the Capacity Funding budget to cover the legal advice needed to secure this vital strategic infrastructure, which is able to be delivered as a result of the Housing Infrastructure Funding.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Wards affected: Rushmere; St Margaret's; Whitton;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 20/02/2019
Decision due: 11 Feb 2019 by Officer Decision
Internal Consultees: Planning & Development Officers, Procurement S151 Officer, Head of Development and Monitoring Officer.