Drift Improvement Vision
With finances in a healthy position, the Council have developed a vision for improvements to the centre area of the village, for the benefit of residents and our visitors. The three elements are the Drift lighting, the Drift resurfacing maintenance and Royal Square refurbishment.
The following provides detailed information on those three elements and includes financial detail now that the contract has been signed. The information provided here has been publicly available and reported previously but in the interest of ease of access this has been brought together in the one area.
Lighting has always been an issue that divides residents into diverse camps, both believing that their opinion is the correct one. However the safety concerns of residents has meant that it would be remiss of the Council not to tackle this thorny issue.
Over the last 5 years Dedham Parish Council (DPC) has been developing a solution to address residents concerns for lighting within the village. It is a subject that invokes passionate views of “love it” or “hate it”. The Council recognises this and has been extremely focused on delivering a solution that is appropriate for the village and its environmental setting.
There is of course a need to ensure that Dedham keeps its character and any works should have due regard for the AONB and conservation area status.
This does not mean that the village and its facilities should be frozen in time as society changes, particularly regarding residents concerns over safety and security. Whilst several propositions for extra lighting in the village were set aside by the Council, the strength of residents concerns over their personal safety whilst crossing the Drift could not be ignored.
We are all sadly aware of the issues and concerns regarding personal safety on the streets, highlighted by the recent death of Sarah Everard. This was followed by the commitment from government and other public bodies to provide additional street lighting.
It is on the basis of residents safety and security concerns, raised at many DPC public meetings and by petition, that we held a consultation event to explain our thoughts and asked residents for feedback. This again showed support for lighting across the Drift by residents.
The Council is an elected statutory body with the powers to address local issues of which this is one. The land in question is owned by the Council. The planned works are within the powers of the Council to carry out with appropriate permissions. It was in June 2019 that the Council agreed to progress this project at an estimated cost of £10K.The Council lighting group then turned its attention to defining the correct solution.
The Dedham Vale Society, is firmly in the “hate it” camp and has on many occasions challenged the Council on its decision to proceed with the project. This has involved the Council in considerable extra cost and time in delivering the project.
The objective of the Council has been to ensure that all the formal requirements needed for the planned works have been met.
To this end the Council has:
- Contracted a Landscape Architect across all three elements.
- Contracted an Arboriculturist.
- Consulted with CBC planning authority.
- Obtained and confirmed the correctness of our certificate of lawfulness Obtained tree officer approval for the works.
- Commissioned an ecologist report, although advised as not required by our arboriculturist.
- Ensured that the selected lighting bollard was the best on the market that we could find to meet the DVS support of a Dark Skies Park. This selection was also commented as being the one that the ecologist would recommend for sensitive areas.
- Engaged with the Stour Valley and AONB project team on the proposed solution. Had due regard for The Countryside and Rights of Way act during this process. Arranged a mock up of the proposed lighting bollards to aid Councillors in their consideration of the impact of the bollards on the environment.
- Three contractors tendered.
- Engaged with, and responded to numerous objections and queries from Mr Clover representing the Dedham Vale Society (DVS) and taken legal advice
We reported last year that we had passed a resolution to install Drift lighting, so this year has been about defining the right solution for the village, that solution was agreed at the February 2021 Council meeting. Please rest assured that considerable work has gone into the solution in order to align with the Dedham Vale Society on dark skies, balanced against the safety of residents. We have 9 bollards that operate with a triple interlock, they focus light only on to the Drift surface. They only light up when a resident is walking the path, in the dark and with certain hours - they are not permanently on and do not affect wildlife - minimal lighting, maximum benefit to residents safety and security concerns.
Lighting financial details
This element had full Council approval and planned budget prior to the tender process. Contractors were fully aware that this element would proceed. The contractors were selected on the basis of experience, recommendation and delivering to local authorities. It is unfortunate that the contractor that our estimate was based upon declined the invitation to tender.
Please be aware that at the time of going to tender the arboriculturist’s plan was for the ducting of the wiring to run in the foundation layer of the Drift. At formal approval the view of the tree officer was different. The resulting increase in cost was £5872.46 due to trenching within the football pitch being specified.
Drift resurfacing maintenance
The Drift is in need of resurfacing and we will also be carrying out work to improve the current issues with the pooling of water along its length. This phase will run from the sports pavilion to the Duchy Barn and is planned to coincide with the lighting installation. It should be noted that the tender took the resurfacing to to public toilet, the Council extended this to include the Barn.
Drift resurfacing financials
This element was included in the tender process to gain an understanding of the costs. Unlike the lighting, the resurfacing had not been agreed by Council, nor had any budget been put aside, however it was accounted for in our reserves. Whilst the expectation for lighting was £10K gained from previous quotes, the Council did not have an estimate or view of costs at this stage. Contractors were informed of this and were aware that this element may not happen.
There were many options to choose from, the final cost included additional options and an extension to the length of the resurfacing.
Royal Square Refurbishment
That leaves us with Royal Square. We have previously, twice in the last nine years, tried to resurface this with gravel and it does not last. As part of the overall architects plans for the planned works we also asked for thoughts on Royal Square. We have initial drawings of a couple of options for its layout and finish, we have included the war memorial as part of the overall plan. It is of course up to the next parish council to take this through to completion if they consider it appropriate and modify the plans if required. The final part of the Drift resurfacing will also need to be completed between Royal Square and the Barn.
We are minded that this project would be appropriate in the year of the Queens platinum jubilee.
Three contractors tendered, one declined, leaving the Council with three responses to analyse. Whilst there was no commitment from the Council to complete the Drift resurfacing at this time, it was recognised that there were opportunity costs and benefits to doing so, namely:
- Minimisation of disruption
- A single closure of the public right of way and costs involved
- Cost reductions regarding mobilisation
- Tree officer preference for a single disturbance of the ground
- Analysis of the tender responses provided a compelling financial argument from the chosen contractor to complete both elements at the same time
The council have entered into a re-measurable contract based on a priced bill of quantities with anticipated costs in the following areas of work as follows:
Original tender specified return costs:
Basic lighting costs inclusive of electrical controls = £12399.57
Optional bollard surround setts = £243.60
Total tender lighting costs including options = £12643.17
Post tender lighting additions:
Additional trenching requirement £ 5872.46
Revised lighting total = £ 18515.63
Drift resurfacing and barrier costs
Original tender specified return costs:
Basic grading and resurfacing cost = £14762.57
Optional edging, stone setts = £2275.62
Optional gate and timber bollards barrier = £1525.56
Optional cross path = £3515.87
Total tender resurfacing and barrier costs including options = £22079.62
Post tender Drift additions to extend path around Duchy Barn = £7237.80
Revised resurfacing and barrier costs = £29317.42
Shared element costs
Welfare unit and optional site management / engineering = £3532.17
Disposal of waste = £265.16
Temporary fencing = £278.85
Total shared costs = £4076.18
Proportional split 50:50
Lighting = £2038.09
Resurfacing = £2038.09
Original tender cost for lighting element including chosen options = £12643.17
Post tender additions = £5872.46
Shared costs= £2038.09
Final cost of lighting element = £ 20553.72
Original tender cost for Drift resurfacing and barrier element including chosen options = £22079.62
Post tender additions = £ 7237.80
Shared costs = £2038.09
Final cost of resurfacing element = £ 31355.51
Total Works Cost = £ 51909.23
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