This report, as set out in Supplementary Agenda No.1, provided an update to Cabinet following the decision by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, alongside Homes England, to withdraw the £170 million Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant.
The report set out that because of the decision, Medway Council would need to stop work on the original proposed investment in six road schemes, which were designed to improve the Peninsula’s links to the rest of Medway, reduce congestion, and improve air quality, alongside investment in public access to open spaces and options to improve public transport. The remaining grant allocation of £150 million would need to be removed from the Council’s capital programme.
The report proposed that Council continue to work with residents, Parish Councils, community groups and members of the Hoo Consortium of landowners and housebuilders to come forward with alternative solutions for Hoo. These would focus on improving the wellbeing of all residents by providing sustainable transport, access to open spaces, employment opportunities and new homes. The work would also form part of the process of adopting a new Local Plan for Medway, the development of which was critically important for Medway.
The report was also due to be considered by the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 August 2023.
Following confirmation from Homes England that it will reimburse the Council for all eligible expenditure incurred at risk since January 2023, Cabinet noted that the uncommitted balance of the HIF project would be removed from the capital programme under the Chief Operating Officer’s delegation.
The Cabinet instructed officers to explore other funding sources to deliver aspects of the HIF programme where possible.
The Cabinet noted that the Local Plan would now be developed in the absence of HIF, with careful consideration given at both Regulation 18 and 19 stages to how this could be effected.
To actively manage financial risk to the council; whilst also continuing to prioritise the development of the Local Plan in its response to the closure of the HIF programme.