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Agenda item

Heather House and Pavilion Building


The Housing Delivery Manager provided an update to the Committee on the findings from the procurement and stakeholder/resident survey which was undertaken to enable the Committee to make an informed decision.


The Committee noted that indicative costs for a new build community centre would be around £2.5million.  However, there was potential for residential development on the Pavilion building site but this would still leave a subsidy gap of just over £2m.


It was noted that a procurement process was undertaken to identify suitable partners that would contribute towards the formulation of the design brief, contribute capital to minimise the financial commitment from the Council, manage the facility and steward it on an arms-length basis from the Council.  A Prior Information Notice (PIN) was advertised on the Kent Business Portal on 23 January 2019 and produced a total of 12 responses.  Of the 12 responses, 5 responded by saying that they would be interested in participating in the project.


There were 3 respondents who indicated that they would be willing to manage and steward a new or improved facility without long term support from the Council.  None of the respondents could directly contribute monies to fully or part-fund either a new or improved facility but 4 respondents could assist with support for fundraising bids.  One respondent (National Pride) was happy to act as facilitator and project enabler to find partners to contribute towards the design and finance.


It was also noted that the Royal British Legion Social Club had advised the Council in February 2019 that it would cease trading later in the year and therefore wanted to surrender their lease and vacate the building.  The Rugby Football Club would be entering into a short term lease with the Council to continue to operate from the building.


The Committee commented as follows:-

·  That the refurbishment and extension for Heather House should be a priority before the residential units.

·  That the long term future and maintenance of Heather House should be looked at to ensure the same issue is not being discussed in 13 years’ time.

In response to questions from Members, the Officer advised that:-


·  An informative event would be held at Heather House to enable the design team to engage with the local community and stakeholders.

·  It would make more sense to have the same company undertaking both the new build for Heather House and the residential units.  However, due to the specialist nature of the refurbishment works to Heather House, it might be necessary to have two separate contractors for the new build residential units and the refurbishment works to Heather House.

·  The refurbishment works for Heather House are reliant upon any land value generated by Maidstone Property Holdings (MPH) for the residential housing on the Pavilion Building site being paid to the Council and pledged towards the cost of the refurbishment and extension of Heather House.  A case would have to be made to Policy and Resources Committee for an additional £600,000 from the capital programme or alternative sources.

·  That there was a delivery timescale of 18 months but it was considered that this could be shortened to 12 months.

·  The indicative project costs related to the refurbishment and extension of Heather House include contingency, and a further 10% of on-costs such as consultancy fees. 

RESOLVED: That the Committee endorses that a follow up report is presented to Policy and Resources Committee to consider the business case for Maidstone Property Holdings Ltd to develop the Pavilion Building site for residential housing in order to partially fund a refurbishment of Heather House and to approve the final scheme costs and necessary financial commitments associated with the development and management of the Heather House and Pavilion Building sites, subject to the necessary planning consent and tenders for the works contracts being received for both schemes.


Voting:  For:  Unanimous

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