Agenda item

North Walsham High Street HEritage Action Zone - Project Update

To receive and note the update.


Cllr R Kershaw – Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Growth introduced the item and informed Members that work had commenced on phase two of the placemaking scheme in mid-September. He added that evaluating the existing materials and reusing these where possible would shorten the building period and help to keep costs down. It was noted that the Church approach was finished and ready for snagging, whilst rendering of the wall opposite the Shambles was now in progress. On the Vicarage Street Car Park it was reported that planning permission had been approved, and the scheme was now out for tender with work expected to begin in January. It was noted that the Market had moved to Bank Loke, which had been well received by traders and the public, whilst the farmers market had also moved with an increase in the number of stalls. Cllr R Kershaw stated that the HAZ scheme had engendered a wider confidence in the Town, with the City Gates site now open to a new building and bathroom suppliers, whilst Howdens had moved into the Hornbeam Road site. He added that the knock-on effect was to increase pride in the Town and show that it was open for business. It was noted that traffic surveys undertaken throughout summer had shown that most traffic passed through the market place as a short cut, and did not stop there specifically, which had alleviated some concerns of local businesses.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          The ADSG noted that interesting issues had begun to be addressed as part of the project that were not planned, such as relocating of bins and signage to make the town more accessible and user-friendly.


      ii.          The Chairman asked whether any assurance could be offered regarding the considerable risks that remained visible on the risk register. Cllr R Kershaw replied that the risks were acknowledged as the Council was fully aware of issues such as increased fuel and material costs, which were discussed on a weekly basis to ensure they were adequately mitigated. The ADSG added that the project itself did come with inherent risks due to the number of stakeholders and high profile changes being made to the Town. He noted that there had been thorough engagement undertaken to mitigate these risks and costs were reviewed on an ongoing basis. It was suggested that the project had moved into the next stage and this meant that some risks would begin to diminish and become easier to quantify. The ADSG stated that risks remained whilst undertaking capital projects due to inflation in the costs of materials and labour, which justified the RAG statuses. He added that he would not expect several of the risks to be reported as amber or green until the overall project was nearing completion. The Chairman noted that it sounded as though risks were being closely monitored, adequately managed and could be expected to reduce in likelihood as the project progressed.


     iii.          Cllr C Cushing suggested that the report could include a RAG status for each workstream with key milestones and dates for each. He added that it would also be helpful to understand the impacts of each risk and what mitigation measures were in place. The ADSG replied that he would be happy to provide workstream reporting and reduce the level of detail, though it was suggested that the current format did provide context that Members may not be aware of.


    iv.          Cllr N Housden referred to the risk of funding not being committed within the funding timescale and asked whether this had been addressed. The ADSG replied that this related to funding from the LEP which had a spending timescale, which had now been committed, which meant that the associated risk could be reduced with completion expected in March 2023. The PMNW noted that part of the risk register included a summary of the mitigation actions taken, with an updated status. She added that the report format appeared to have changed and lost the most up to date information.


      v.          Cllr N Pearce referred to cultural programming risks and asked whether residents were supportive of the wider changes being made in the Town. Cllr R Kershaw noted that comments from p54 onwards of the risk register had been lost, which would have explained the mitigation measures. The ADSG stated that the Council was satisfied that that there had been a good level of engagement on the cultural programming projects with consortium partners. He added that additional narrative within the risk register could be helpful to explain high risk areas, though cultural programming was undertaken by local groups and was separate to the town-scaping scheme. The CE noted there was an error in the formatting, and this would need to be corrected to provide the requested narrative. The DSGOS suggested that the report format may have been altered during agenda production and this could be addressed quickly. It was suggested that the updated report could be brought back to the October meeting for further discussion. Cllr R Kershaw noted that after mitigation, only four red RAG statuses remained, but this would be shown when the report returned.


    vi.          Cllr N Pearce proposed deferring any formal comment on the report until it had been reconsidered at the October meeting, and was seconded by Cllr N Housden.


   vii.          Cllr C Cushing asked whether individual workstream RAG ratings and milestones could be included in the next quarterly update.




1.     To reconsider the report at the October meeting subject to amendment of project risk register formatting issues and minor alterations.


Supporting documents: