We have sent the following email to South Gloucestershire Council
Evidently the errors in the Business Case need to be raised direct with them so they have the opportunity to correct any errors before submission of the Full Business Case
Thornbury Town and District Residents Association 11th March 2022
For the attention of David Perry – Chief Executive, Nina Philippidis, Head of Financial Services , Toby Savage – Leader, South Gloucestershire Council
David, Nina and Toby,
South Gloucestershire Council Outline & Full Business Case funding applications to WECA for Thornbury High Street
Given the anticipated limited time for public comment on the Full Business Case (FBC) identified below and the expected extensive carry over of existing detail from the Outline Business Case (OBC), we would like to make you aware of the following:
Outline Business Case
We believe the Outline Business Case is not fit for purpose, since it contains errors, miscalculations and misrepresentation of facts
Some of the modelling tools used for impact assessments are totally inappropriate for use in the context of the proposed High Street development.
As a result, the Value for Money Statement is vastly overstated and should not be accepted as currently calculated and stated in the OBC.
Summary of six of the main issues: –
- Lack of any detailed objective or quantitative consideration of other Options for the High Street development.
- The totally inappropriate and inconsistent selection of Base Case reference data used for Impact Assessments within the OBC.
- The lack of engagement with High Street traders and businesses to collect and assess their economic position and needs – pre-closure, during closure or how economic impact might be assessed if the OBC measures were implemented.
- The severe ‘creative accountancy’ undertaken when quantifying the Benefit Value stated in the Economic Appraisal and the resultant Value for Money Statement.
- Health, Environmental and Safety Considerations.
- Consideration of Full or Partial, Temporary or Permanent change to the existing interim arrangement.
These issues are expanded and detailed in the Attached Detailed analysis and assessment document
Full Business Case
We are aware that following the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Joint Committee Meeting on 28th January 2022, South Gloucestershire Council are now revising the OBC to Full Business Case (FBC) status.
Our understanding is that it is the responsibility of South Gloucestershire Council to ensure the FBC is accurate and fit for purpose before submitting it to WECA
Active Mode Appraisal Tool (AMAT) Model
Despite our request made to you in February we only received a copy of the data used to input AMAT model on 9th March.
Given that the majority of the predicted Benefit Value from the proposed project is derived from the use of this Tool, we are very concerned that the input data used is totally inappropriate and must request that South Gloucestershire Council rework the AMAT model using input data that is actually relevant to both Thornbury and Thornbury High Street.
This will show that the figures used in the Outline Business Case were incorrect and must be revised
Public Statements and Public
When preparing the Full Business Case, the Council will also need to take into account each of the Public Submissions and Public Questions, which were submitted for the meeting at Bath on 28th January. In any event, even after 6 weeks, we still await responses to the Public Questions and once again request that these be responded to by return
Actions for South Gloucestershire Council
We believe the Outline Business Case should be withdrawn and that the preparation and submission of Full Business Case is put to one side until such time as any errors, miscalculations or misrepresentation are corrected before signing off by the appropriate professional people in South Gloucestershire Council and before submission of he FBC to WECA
Meeting & Response
We request an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer of SGC.
In view of the seriousness and urgency of the situation we look forward to your response by return
Copy: Copies are being sent to WECA and Luke Hall MP