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Another setback for Waveney Campus

PUBLISHED: 09:03 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:04 06 July 2010

WORK on a multimillion pound council and science headquarters at Lowestoft has been set back by at least eight months, with the office building unlikely to be finished before spring 2012.

WORK on a multimillion pound council and science headquarters at Lowestoft has been set back by at least eight months, with the office building unlikely to be finished before spring 2012.

Plans for the flagship Waveney Campus have been delayed and the target date for 1,000 staff from Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council and the Cefas science laboratories to move into the building has now been set back to the end of May 2012.

It was originally hoped that the £52.7m development next to Lake Lothing would be ready by autumn 2010 but a raft of delays have taken their toll and in the summer, it was announced that the project was planned for completion in late 2011.

Now a new report has revealed that the building is unlikely to be occupied before late spring 2012 - more than three years after planning permission was granted - because of delays caused by uncertainty over the future of local government in the region, Waveney District Council's battle to reduce a £9m bill from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for overpaid benefits and the need for a second round of bids from developers after one of the original companies dropped out a year ago.

The report, which will be discussed by Waveney District Council's environment and regeneration scrutiny sub-committee on Wednesday October 11, said: “The second round of bidding added three months to the timetable. The remainder of the additional time has been added to the funding approval timetable, which has been extended to allow Waveney District Council to resolve its discussions with the DWP and for Cefas and Defra to obtain final approval from HM Treasury.”

Despite the potential delays, the cost of the massive project is estimated to still be about £52m and all the partners will have to confirm their spending plans in January so that the building contract can finally be awarded in the spring.

The new report also said that Defra and HM Treasury are in the process of finalising a business case for their part in the investment and that Suffolk County Council is “considering investing a significant amount of capital.”

A spokesman for the project said that plans for the campus are still going ahead and that delays are not unexpected on such a large and expensive development.


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