This report seeks to gain authority to proceed with the procurement of essential flat roof replacement and associated works to the Bognor Regis Arcade building. Authority is further sought for placement of contract and works order for the project with the most economically advantageous contractor on completion of procurement to permit project delivery.
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Property, Estates & Facilities Manager introduced the report to the Committee. He explained that the Council had been aware of the poor condition of the large section of flat roof to the east side of the Arcade, which had been patched many times both during and before Council ownership of the building. The condition had deteriorated more rapidly than expected and had now come to the end of it’s life. During heavy rainfall the water effected some ground floor commercial premises and damaged surfaces. Action was needed now, to prevent more serious failure or compensation events. In January last year Members had been provided with a seminar in which several viability options for the upper floors were presented, including an option for the creation of an additional storey above the defective flat roof area, however it was not deemed to enhance the financial viability of the scheme. Given the viability conclusion, it was in the best interests of the Council to proceed with the replacement of the defective flat roof, which would be of benefit to future use of the upper floors and would protect viability of ground floor units. The flat roof had been surveyed by a contractor and this indicated that potential structural defects were likely to exist within the fabric of the roof as a result of ongoing water penetration. The cost was estimated to be around £210, 000. It was acknowledged that retail remained in a delicate state, and any charges levied would be in consultation with leaseholders. The Ward Members had been consulted and no negative comments had been received.
Members (and non-Committee Members given permission to speak) then took part in a question and answer session as summarised below:
· There was concern about the recommendations, as it was felt this could restrict future options. It was suggested that a temporary roof be erected in the short term, while a future plan for the building was drawn up. The Property, Estates & Facilities Manager explained that access on the roof would still be required, and the site was very exposed, so a temporary roof may not last long, and also would not look attractive.
· The building was in a poor state when it was bought, and was likely to deteriorate further, the purchase of the building was a failed investment that the Council should get out of as quickly as possible. It was an important heritage site, and the features should be preserved, particularly the Northern façade, but there was concern about spending the sum of money on a solution that may have to be removed to allow further development.
· It was too early to fully explore expanding the top floor of the arcade, and there was concern that erecting the new roof would take that option away.
· The ground floor was hosting some wonderful businesses and concern was expressed about passing the costs onto those businesses. The Property, Estates & Facilities Manager explained that businesses would be worked with to ... view the full minutes text for item 565