New town infrastructure promises can’t be kept

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CAUSE has found that the infrastructure budget for ‘West Tey’ new town is half what is actually needed to meet infrastructure promises.

The local authorities have budgeted £810m yet CAUSE research indicates that the total budget (excluding contingency*) should be closer to £1600m.  Three areas where the budget gap is biggest are transport provision, healthcare and education, all of which were cited by those who signed CAUSE’s petition as of serious concern.

CAUSE spokesperson, Rosie Pearson, said, “We have asked to see the councils’ modelling several times but have been refused sight of the details behind the budget.   This has forced us to carry out our own research. What we have found is worrying.”

“Large public sector infrastructure projects are known to be risky, and Lord Kerslake indicated as much in his peer review of the garden communities project in January. With the West Tey proposal, Braintree and Colchester are starting off with a budget so far below what is actually needed that it is clear that this project is doomed to fail.   Two things can happen:   our councils will be forced to borrow more than twice as much as currently planned or we will find ourselves lumbered with a half-finished new town with 17,000 homes and only some of the infrastructure it needs.”

“West Tey is too big, too risky and too complicated for our local authorities to cope with and should be dropped.”

*When an industry-standard 40% contingency is added, the budget rises to £2.2 billion. (There is a 44% contingency for the A120 dualling between Braintree and A12.)