1. Why can’t you give a final cost estimate?  Are the costs likely to increase?

It has become clear that the difficulties with the project are more complex than originally envisaged in May.  Work is continuing as quickly as possible to develop a final scheme cost estimate for Cabinet consideration.  However we are aware that some of the emerging information, particularly around site and construction factors suggests that the final costs could increase.

We are working hard to produce a final scheme cost estimate by late autumn.

2. Where is the extra money going to come from?

The identified budget shortfall to date is to be initially funded from the Council’s budget risk reserve.

A budget risk reserve is a fund set aside for unforeseen financial expenditure – put simply; it is the budget equivalent of keeping a family emergency fund for the proverbial rainy day.

The Strategic Director of Corporate Resources is currently identifying a best value for money funding solution option that will minimise the impact on the  Council’s medium term financial plan and council tax payers.

3. Why were the complexities not known about before?

When the issues were first raised in May, the new design team had a full level survey of the site carried out.  This survey identified complexities, particularly in relation to the Derwent Parade Junction, the realignment of the Wyvern slip road and pedestrian footbridge access.

As part of the updated scheme design, different options will be considered  to change elements of the design to mitigate scheme cost increases.

4. When will the independent investigation report its findings

The results of the investigation, being carried out by the Council’s Independent Internal Audit function, will be reported to Cabinet as soon as it is complete.

Ernst Young, our external auditors, support this approach, and are being consulted throughout the process.

5. When will the A52 roadworks be complete?

We acknowledge that given the serious issues with this project, there will inevitably be an impact on delivery time.

Currently we cannot put a definitive date for completion. This will be available when the final scheme costs are completed.  An update later this autumn will include a more accurate forecast on timescales.