In May last year, we inherited the A52 project from the previous Labour administration and discovered very significant financial and project management issues.
Today, Derby City Council released the findings of an independent investigation tasked with finding out what went so badly wrong.
The comprehensive report, which you can read via the link below, runs to over 130 pages and identifies a series of failings.
It is now absolutely clear that the scheme was poorly conceived and costed from the start.
One of our first major decisions on taking over from the previous Labour council aside from launching an investigation, was to also significantly strengthen the project team, project management and to bring in outside technical expertise.
As a result, the extensive and detailed design work required has been completed. We feel it is fair to say that we had to ‘start again’ in regard to detailed survey and designs, such were the problems with the project when we inherited it.
That work has been completed and the public will now see major elements of the scheme finally progressing. It has also allowed the project team to finally be confident on the overall costs of the project which are now currently £42m.
It is now absolutely clear that the cost should have always been upwards towards £40m. One of the major findings of the report demonstrates that the scheme was significantly underfunded in the first place and the chief executive of the council is now carrying out internal reviews to ensure this never happens again.
The funding that the Conservative administration now needs to agree, along with more clarity on the schemes delivery timeline, will be dealt with at a cabinet meeting in the coming weeks. At this time we are expecting the scheme to be completed in Summer 2020 at or below a final cost of £42m.
With the support of residents across Derby in the May local elections, we will deliver this project in the way that it should have been delivered under the previous Labour council administration.
We will also continue our efforts to transform the governance and reputation of the council that were so badly damaged by the previous Labour administration.
Ultimately though, we must not forget that despite the serious failings identified in the report and the very significant financial impact of the council finances, the A52 scheme (once delivered) will offer very significant benefits to the City.
That is why we are determined to ensure the A52 scheme is delivered with no de-scoping of what was originally agreed.
Major elements to be brought forward in the coming months will offer confidence to the public that this project is now moving forward to completion.