County council already spent £9,25 million on Kings Dyke crossing scheme - including £4.1 million on acquiring land

PUBLISHED: 16:30 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 27 February 2020

Aerial view of Kings Dyke. Picture; CCC

Aerial view of Kings Dyke. Picture; CCC

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Just under half the £9.25 million already spent on the Kings Dyke crossing improvements at Whittlesey was to buy the land needed, says a new report.

County council sign at Kings Dyke. Picture; CCCCounty council sign at Kings Dyke. Picture; CCC

The county council economy and environment committee has been told that £4.10 million was spent on land acquisition and legal fees.

A further £1.50 million has been spent on county council staffing, Skanska and White Young Green consultant fees.

And £1.51 million on detailed design and clearance of vegetation (before the bird nesting season) and monitoring Great Crested Newts and badgers.

The county council says it has an approved budget of £29.8 million to deliver Kings Dyke with £24.4 million being met by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Two of the six companies who passed the initial tender stage to build the Kings Level crossing improvement scheme have dropped out with the county council days away from evaluating bids from the remaining four.

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The economy and environment committee believe it is on target to award the contract in April or May with work due to begin in December with completion two years later.

The committee is emphatic it will keep a close eye on the much-delayed project with an officer project board and a member advisory group both in place.

Council leader Steve Count and his deputy Cllr Roger Hickford both serve on the advisory group "owing to the strategic importance of the scheme" says a report to the committee.

Council officials have also drawn up a risk register that covers possible delays, funding issues, or even the need to re-tender if the price is considered too high.

This part of the report also refers to any delays to the project and how to manage the "political and reputational fall out" if something goes wrong.

An annexe to the report also considers the extreme improbability - but nonetheless a risk - of no one putting forward a competitive tender. Officials fear in such a scenario the budget might have been to be increased and their assessment suggests how this could be managed.

Other risks include a scenario where "significant design changes" were needed. This could cause delay, " and may require additional third party approvals".

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