Posted: 14.09.20 at 13:29 by The Editor
SENIOR Thurrock councillors will again debate the future of Stanford-le-Hope's rail station this week - and are expected to give themselves permission to appoint new contractors to deliver the much delayed and overspent project.
However, a mystery still remains as to why the council has committed to spending £590,000 on consultants for the project - a fact not mentioned in the report to Wednesday's (16 September) cabinet meeting - nor in an overview and scrutiny committee last week.
Thurrock Council and the consultants Mace Ltd have declined to give details to Thurrock Nub News despite repeated requests.
Wednesday's council cabinet meeting is being asked to recommend a tendering process for a main works contractor for a new two phased build of the station and to delegate power to Director of place Andy Millard, in consultation with portfolio holder for regeneration Cllr Mark Coxshall, to award the contract.
That comes in the wake of huge concern about the whole botched development of the station by councillors - who called for an increased level of scrutiny on the project, and more councillor involvement and transparency.
The cabinet will be told that the project redevelopment scheme involves the construction of "new, light and modern station buildings with improved operational features and refreshment outlet to improve the passenger experience, a new footbridge and accessible lifts.
"The design will incorporate improved safety features, low maintenance materials and construction with anti-vandalism features, some platform widening for significantly improved passenger safety, and modern passenger information systems.
"Phase two includes a Transport Hub, incorporating a bus turnaround facility, passenger drop-off points and cycle parking and recharging points, improved car parking for all types of vehicles and a Taxi rank and drop off points."
The council recently purchased the site of Daybreak Windows, adjacent to the station car park to create enough room for the development and increase parking options in Stanford-le-Hope. The cost has not been fully revealed but tops £4 million.
It is now expected that the whole cost of the project will be more than £20 million and possibly significantly more.
However, last week's report to the standards and audit committee rather glossed over the project, with assistant director for transport infrastructure projects Anna Eastgate telling members "It is rather difficult to control costs."
But she added: "It's a positive story all round."
The full report to the cabinet can be found here.
The breakdown of who is paying for the work is South East Local Enterprise Partnership - £7,500,000, London Gateway (DP World) £550,000, NSIP (Network Rail) £3,050,000, c2c £737,000, S106 contributions from Thurrock Council £1,533,000 and the rest will come directly from the council unless they can find other funders.
Currently the council is committed to spending £5,720,000 but there is no breakdown about what that has been spent on and if it includes the recent land purchase or the money spent on consultants.
The total cost is given as £19,090,000 but there appears little doubt that will rise further.