Hereford project costing £4.3m 'very challenging to deliver'
A major Hereford improvement project will be “very challenging to deliver as originally envisaged”, one of its sponsors has said.
Consisting of new sports facilities and market gardens, the £4.3 million Southside project is being led by Belmont Wanderers FC, Hereford’s Growing Local initiative and NMITE, the city’s New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering.
NMITE chief executive James Newby, who is the project’s “sponsor” on the Hereford Stronger Towns Board which oversees the £22-million programme of city improvements, said: “As with all major capital projects, the recent extraordinary levels of inflation has imposed additional costs which make the project very challenging to deliver as originally envisaged.
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“Whilst the Stronger Towns Board and the project partners remain confident the project will be delivered, the exact scope, design and the sequencing of its various phases are being reviewed.”
The board “is overseeing the Southside development closely”, and the recent “red” risk status it assigned to the project “reflects the fact that more design and phasing work is needed before the final project is confirmed”, Mr Newby said.
“The project partners hope to be able to confirm details of the facilities to be delivered, and the project’s timetable, before the summer of 2023,” he added.
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The board’s chair, Hereford College of Arts principal Abigail Appleton, said: “I’m pleased with progress being made on this exciting and ambitious project.”
According to Growing Local educational officer Louisa Foti, the idea that Southside might be undeliverable in its present form “was the belief of one or two board members, and never the belief of the partner organisations”.
“All issues have now been resolved and the project is fully deliverable,” she maintained.
A formal application for outline permission for the project was submitted earlier this month.