Agenda item



Council was informed that the Cabinet, at its meeting held on the 20th February 2023 (Minute 6 refers) had considered the Five Year Capital Programme (Council Fund) 2023/24 to 2027/28 taking into account the consultation exercise undertaken and the revenue implications arising from the capital programme.


The Cabinet Member for Resources presented to the Council, on behalf of the

Cabinet, the report on the Five Year Capital Programme which would see £265m of investment over the next five years, £73m of which was for the continued commitment for improving our school buildings, £27m for Regeneration projects to boost economic activity, £86m for City Deal backed projects which included a new leisure centre for Llanelli, and £59m to improve the local economic infrastructure and wider environment.  The programme provided a comprehensive and wide-ranging package supported by funding from the Welsh Government, the UK government, and the council’s own resources. 


It was noted that the detailed provisional capital programme had been presented to the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee on 30th January for consultation.  Following concerns about the lack of Provision for flood prevention and the lack of Welsh Government grant funding for decarbonisation measures, the programme had been revised to include further commitments in those areas.  No other matters of concern were raised during this consultation and an extract from the relevant minute of the meeting was included in Appendix B for information. 


It was reported that as the previous capital programme focused support for businesses on the need to boost the local economy that remained the focus as the Council continued to maintain support for the local economy with major investments in levelling up projects and continued support for investment in infrastructure.  


The programme included three ongoing transformational projects each focused on a different primary town area.  


Firstly -  the agreement to start construction on Zone One of the Pentre Awel development in Llanelli had been signed, at a contract price of £86m creating five dedicated buildings associated with "street" space, which would also include an aquatic centre, sports hall, multipurpose sports and fitness rooms and gymnasium, education and training facilities, clinical and research provision, and innovation and business space.  The project would transform the landscape and economy of south Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, and a greater part of West Wales. 


Secondly, a £19.6m hub would be provided at the heart of Carmarthen Town Centre boosting footfall in the town centre as the Council built back from the pandemic providing a home for the County’s art collection, health and education facilities as well as being the new home to the authority’s Carmarthen Hwb and retail units.  The investment would also act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the town centre. 


Thirdly, a £19m investment to complete the Tywi Valley Path within the Dinefwr area would bring significant benefits to the rural economy and improvements to health and wellbeing of residents.   


The Cabinet Member advised that in addition to these large flagship projects, the Council would continue to support its ongoing programmes of investments in infrastructure and property portfolio in year five of the programme: 


The programme would continue to support Schools and Sustainable Communities for Learning which, in recent years, had seen the completion of new school buildings and refurbishment across the county, most recently with the opening of the new Ysgol Gynradd Gorslas, and Ysgol Gynradd Pum Heol and the current construction of Ysgol Pembrey.  Provision was therefore made in the programme for further feasibility developments, as the authority continued to work with Welsh Government to work up plans for other communities across the county to benefit from this investment in schools and delivering a 21st Century education experience for our 21stCentury children and future generations. 


It was noted that such feasibility works had been ongoing in the 2022/23 financial year on several schools and therefore those projects were not listed as part of the new programme.  The fruits of that work would be seen in the future as the projects secured grant funding from government and were supported in coming years.  It was also noted that the primary schools in Ammanford, which were part of the programme, were not listed because they were part of Mutual Investment Model (MIM) bids and would therefore be delivered in conjunction with partners in the private sector funded through revenue in due course. 


The Cabinet Member advised that in addition to the flagship projects outlined, the authority would seek to continue supporting its our ongoing rolling programmes of investments in infrastructure and the authority’s property portfolio in year five of the programme i.e


£2.5m for Disability Facilities Grants. 

£250k to improve Road Safety. 

£250k for highways drainage 

£400k for Bridge Strengthening 

£600k for ongoing Highway Refurbishment  

£400k for Public Lighting 

£500k for Education General Works including adaptations to comply with the Equalities Act  

£2m for the Strategic Regeneration Project Fund. 

£3m for Capital Maintenance for investment in our property estate. 


Collectively, over the next five years investment in these rolling programmes would amount to over £48m. 


It was noted that 2026/27 would also see the proposed continuation of the £66k annual allocation to Rights of Ways and Byways, in recognition of the Council’s obligations in that area and the wider community health and environmental benefits provided by these valuable resources. 


The Cabinet Member advised that further investments would also be made across the programme as follows:   


In Education – additional funds would be made available to complete the bus bays at Ysgol Dyffryn Taf.   Approval would be sought for the inclusion of further bus bays at other schools, namely: Glanymor, Amman Valley and for traffic management improvements at Bro Myrddin. A package of £1.7m new monies.  Given the urgency of these projects they would all be included in the first year of the new programme. Additionally, given the urgent need for the provision of an ASD unit for secondary age pupils in the east of the county, a proposal for such a unit in the Llanelli/Burry Port area was also included in the first year - 2023/24, at a value of £2m. 


In Communities - in addition to the continued funding for Disability Facilities Grants, already mentioned, within the leisure portfolio a 4G pitch would be provided at the Amman Valley Leisure Centre. Work would also commence on the redevelopment of Oriel Myrddin complimenting other cultural projects completed in recent years such as the new Carmarthenshire Archive – Y Stordy, and redevelopments of the County Museum at Abergwili and Parc Howard. 


In Environment - £75k would be provided in 2023/24 to match fund flood management and £1m for flood mitigation works. £4.7m would be provided for the replacement of refuse and recycling vehicles, included as part of the commitment to the rollout of kerbside sorting and recycling collections. 

As the authority looked to transition to a low carbon economy its highways would still continue to play an important role, therefore, in recognition of their importance to the local economy, and to mitigate the lack of Welsh Government support specifically for investment for highways, a sum of £1m of new money was included in the programme funded from borrowing for highway improvements.  That was in addition to the £600k ongoing annual rolling programme and complimented the significant investments in highway improvements in recent years.  


With regard to Decarbonisation, the Council had the previous year introduced £500k for the decarbonisation of its built estate and would continue that investment with a further £500K in 2023/24. That came on the top of grants made available to local businesses to introduce renewable energy measures awarded in recent years and demonstrated Carmarthenshire’s commitment to the climate change and decarbonisation agenda. 


Information Communication Technology (ICT)  was crucial to future ways of working; therefore, the programme included £2.4m in this purpose.  It includes annual funding of £200k to support digital transformational projects across council services. The County would also see the benefit of the Swansea Bay City Region Digital Project in the coming years.  


Overall, the proposed capital programme committed the Council to significant investment over the five years by optimising funding opportunities and maximising the funding from potential external sources. A combination of existing and new schemes in line with the corporate vision would develop the local economy, create jobs, and enhance the quality of life for our citizens and visitors to the county, while safeguarding resources for future generations. 


 It was noted that County Council funding available for the programme was currently estimated at £168m and included borrowing, both supported and unsupported, reserves and direct revenue funding, Capital Receipts from the sale of surplus assets and Capital grants and contributions of £100m would come from external grant funding bodies. As part of this year’s settlement, Welsh Government had provided indicative general capital funding figures up to 2024/25, as reflected in the programme.  Funding for years three, four and five of the programme were based on an assumed level of support equivalent to that received in 2024/25 going forward. It was noted that the WG funding for 2023/24 was 55K less than previously expected. The overall level of assumed funding in the later years of the programme was in excess of the current commitments.  That uncommitted funding would allow the authority the flexibility to meet future pressures associated with rising costs and other challenges.


As noted with the Revenue Budget Strategy, the final settlement had been received on the 28th February and officers had assessed the main funding sources for the capital programme and confirmed they had not changed from the provisional settlement. However further work would be required to assess direct capital grants and any amendments as a consequence of those and, if required would be addressed by the final recommendation in the report. 


The Cabinet Member advised that comprehensive details of the proposed programme were set out in Appendix A to the report and officers would continue to monitor individual schemes and funding availability. Whilst both would need to be closely managed to ensure the schemes were delivered in full, he confirmed the programme was fully funded for the five years. 


It was noted that Appendix C, as required by the prudential code of capital finance, included the Council’s Capital Strategy Document and set out the long-term context in which capital expenditure and investment decisions were made and gave due consideration to both risk and reward and the impact on achievement of priority outcomes. 


The Cabinet Member advised that the Capital Programme sought to maximise opportunities was comprehensive and ambitious, with the focus on economic stimulation and the provision of high-quality facilities for our residents.  


RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Cabinet be adopted:



The Five-Year Capital Programme and funding as detailed in Appendix A to the report with 2023/24 being a hard budget and 2024/25 to 2027/28 soft/indicative budgets be approved;



The programme be reviewed, as usual, if anticipated external or County Council funding did not materialise;



The Capital Strategy, as detailed in Appendix C be approved;



The Director of Corporate Services, in consultation with the Chief Executive, Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources be delegated authority to make any adjustments necessary as a consequence of the final settlement from the Welsh Government due on the 1st March 2022”.


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