(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report (AMED-015-2016/17).
The Committee went on to consider that late report on the Epping Forest Shopping Centre, noting that they would be going into private session later to discuss the commercially sensitive aspects of this scheme.
Mr Pasterfield, the Assistant Management Development Consultant, introduced the report, noting that the Shopping Park was progressing well. The last meeting with the main contractor, Mcloughlin & Harvey was held on 30 March 2017. Progress had been good but some delays had been experienced due to additional work for shop fittings which would carry on past the completion date. Concreting and asphalting of the service road will be completed on 19 April. This would have to cure for a month before it could be used by heavy vehicles. The Park is looking very finished now and they have started scaling down and the site offices are being moved away. They have finished the car park including white lining. The programme for the shop fitting is being brought together. Clearly some tenants take a shorter time to fit out while others take longer as they have more sophisticated requirements.
With regard to the Section 278 road works, progress has been made Essex County Council were helping in some areas. They were still asking us to carry out resurfacing work to Barrington Green South outside the Sainsbury’s Service entrance. There was some indication that they may contribute towards this so officers were pursuing this. We had to use only contractors that have been approved, for example for electrical works, and this was slowing us up. Works would be going into September, but most of the works would be completed by mid August.
Councillor Mohindra asked if we were still on course for an autumn opening. He was told that we were looking to be opened by mid September, with some tenants looking to open in the summer.
Councillor Mohindra then asked about the Abridge Road junction to be opened up to the public in April; did we have an exact date. And secondly, Essex County Council, Highways; has our relationship improved with them as they have been a source of frustration for some time, putting onerous requirement on us. Mr Pasterfield replied that our relationship with the people on site was good although there was a fragmented relationship with ECC Highways, who tended not to attend site meetings and as a result did not understand our requirements and the results this could have on costs and the programme. With regard to the first point, the junction at Abridge has now been resurfaced and the traffic lights are in; footpaths have been laid out and nearly completed. The traffic lights have to be connected up and this was where we were having problems with Essex, signing off with UK Power, this was what we were chasing up all week. The final handover has now slipped into May.
Councillor Mohindra asked if the white lines were now down. Mr Pasterfield said that he did not think so as this would be the last thing to be done.
Mr Macnab said that ECC have now pulled back from the requirements to resurface Barrington Drive, North and other things tend to make us think that things were improving.
Councillor Waller said he understood that there were initially going to be 10 electric vehicle charging points with the potential to increase the number to 20. Had any thoughts been given to publicising this fact as these will be the first that we had? The Chairman said that there would be some publicity along with publicising the opening of the shopping park. Mr Macnab added it would happen in combination between us and the tenants marketing people and they would be flagging this as a strong selling point. Councillor Mohindra understood that throughout Essex there were only 60 charging points and we would then be leading on this.
Mr Pasterfield added that next week they would have a meeting with Savills, the management agents for the shopping park once completed. They have been providing useful advice throughout the process. From practical completion on 15 June the Building Contractor would effectively be gone and the shopping park would be ours. The meeting will be about the management requirements we would need to look after this, and they would also be dealing with the charging points and would have their suggestions on how this could be marketed.
The meeting then went into private session to discuss individual tenants and their requirements which were commercially sensitive.
That the progress on the Council’s Epping Forest Shopping Park was noted