Background
Background

Decision details

Millom Town Deal Bid and Offer

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Delegated Power being exercised:

This decision is based on the delegation made by Council at its meeting on the 22nd June 2021 where it was agreed: "(e) that if heads of terms are issued in respect of the Millom Town Deal bid in similar terms to the Cleator Moor terms and provided that the terms must be signed before the
next ordinary meeting of Council (7th September 2021) that the Chief Executive be delegated with authority to (i) accept the grant offered and (ii) sign the heads of terms on behalf of the Council".

That report, to Council, is available via this link:
https://copeland.moderngov.co.uk/documents/sll331/Towns%20Fund%20award%20-%20report%20to%20Council%2022.06.21%20final%20v2.pdf

The Minister of Housing, Local Government and the Communities ('the Minister') announced, on the 15th July 2021 that the Millom Town Deal bid had been successful and offered a grant which must be accepted by the 5th August 2021.

Subject of Decision:

Council on the 22nd June 2021 received a detailed report on an offer made by the Minister in the sum of up to £22.5m in the respect of the Town Deal bid for Cleator Moor. Mindful that an announcement might also be made in respect of the Millom Town Deal bid Council delegated acceptance of any offer which might be made in respect of that Town Deal bid to the Chief
Executive if it required acceptance before the date of the next regular meeting of Council on the 7th September 2021.

An offer in respect of Millom has now been received. It is set out in the attached letter from the Minister dated the 15th July 2021 and offers a grant in the sum of up to £20.6m. It relates to the proposed projects of creating the Iron Line, reactivating heritage buildings, activating community
health and developing a connected Millom and Haverigg.

Further details of each project are contained within the annex to the letter. In respect of the amounts shown in the annex and above they total £24.37m reflecting the request that Millom Town Deal Board outlined within their Town Investment Plan. MHCLG have limited the amount that Town Fund will provide to £20.6m (funding offer limit). The Millom Town Deal Board will have two months after they and the Council have accepted the funding offer to reconcile their budget to reflect £20.6m from MHCLG. It is their choice whether to reduce Town Fund commitment proportionally against all projects or hold some projects as per the original budget,
with reductions on scope in others or to seek additional match funds brought in against others to cover the shortfall.

The terms upon which the offer are made are identical to the Cleator Moor offer.

All the other factors set out in the report to Council which led to Council approving the Cleator Moor Town Fund in respect of next stages, accountable body role, compliance with financial regulations including risk, project delivery, and reporting further to Council and the Executive
apply equally to this offer and have been taken into account in arriving at this decision.

In respect of the Section 151 Officer comment, below, this was flagged as an issue in the report to Council. In respect of the financial risk steps will be taken to try and mitigate this risk perhaps in the form of a guarantee, from a partner organisation, against non-recovery with all projects
moving to the delivery stage to enable cost recovery. It is also reasonable to commit such sum to ensure and secure delivery of up to £43.Im total Town Fund grants. With regard to pressure on internal services, additional resources are being sought through the Reboot programme.

Reason for Decision:

The Minister's offer is to be welcomed. It creates up to four exciting projects for Millom which will, as the Heads of Terms state, "will be used to enable Millom to be a revitalised and better connected town built on inclusive economic growth, maximising its natural landscape and
heritage. It will be recognised as a welcoming, peninsular town, with thriving independent businesses and a distinctive culture, arts and tourism offer. Locals and visitors will enjoy active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles".

The grant, of a significant amount, is necessary to revitalise Millom, and there is no hesitation in accepting the offer as being essential to the area.

Officers Consulted:

Section 151 Officer: As stated in the report to Council on the 22nd June 2021 the key financial considerations and assurance processes regarding approval of business cases were set out in that report. From the Council's perspective it is a requirement that business cases represent value for
money, are affordable and there are no long term revenue costs for the Council. Again there is an element of financial risk as part of the initial business case development process as external costs, estimated at c£300k for both Town Deals, will initially be met by the Council but then reimbursed upon successful approval of the business case by Government. There may also be pressure on internal services such as legal, procurement, planning, property and finance over this period.

Decision:

That the offer made by the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Communities in the sum of up to £20.6m in the respect of the Town Deal bid for Millom, and as set out in the appendix to this decision record, be accepted and that the heads of terms be signed on behalf of the Council to
accept the grant.

Alternative options considered:

None

Publication date: 27/07/2021

Date of decision: 27/07/2021

 

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