News

Fall in council capital spending as construction projects paused

Spiraling inflation leads council to delay new homes at Meridian Water as well as road repairs and schools maintenance, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Homes under construction at Meridian One
Homes under construction at Meridian One

Enfield Council’s forecast spending on capital projects has almost halved as the authority continues to be hit by rising inflation and borrowing costs.

The council is expected to spend £262.7million on capital schemes such as major building and renovation projects during the current financial year – 54% of the original £486.4m budget.

It represents a further decline on the £332m capital spending that was forecast in September.

The figures are set out in a report that was presented to a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Wednesday (8th).

According to the report, the £6billion Meridian Water regeneration scheme in Edmonton is set to see the biggest drop in spending of £93.5m – around £10m more than was predicted in September.

The report states that Meridian Four, which is expected to deliver more than 800 homes within the wider Meridian Water development zone, has experienced “unprecedented cost inflation” and that “alternative delivery options” are now being considered. Delays to part of the Meridian One project, the first site where construction has begun, have also contributed to the forecast underspend.


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Housing Gateway, which was set up by the council to acquire homes to provide affordable rented accommodation for people on the borough’s housing waiting list, has dropped plans to buy 31 properties because of the recent spike in interest rates.

Spending on schools maintenance and building work is set to be around £20m below expectations, with the report stating that it will be “reprofiled into later years”.

Planned road resurfacing works have also been held up by cost inflation. By the end of October, 10,051 road defects works had been completed against a full-year target of 18,000 repairs.

The cuts to capital spending mean the council is forecast to borrow £104.1m less than expected during 2022/23. This has helped to bring the council’s expected debt level down from £1.33billion to £1.17bn.

Tim Leaver, the council’s cabinet member for finance and procurement, told the cabinet meeting: “This is about ensuring we make the right strategic decisions based on project needs.

“We have got rising interest rates, we’ve got increasing costs on the projects that we are undertaking, and in certain circumstances we’ve got delays.”

Cllr Leaver said it was right to ensure the council got value for money from its large projects, adding that some costs had increased by 20% or more as contracts were tendered.


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