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Dockhead fire station

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Saturday 18 November 2006 2.05pm
Interesting story about the planned rebuild.

What Val Shawcross's breathless press release doesn't make clear is just how slow the timetable is:

LFCDA Finance, Procurement and Property Committee paper wrote:
Set up Project Team March 2007
Clarify objectives, undertake market sounding, agree planning briefs (from7/8 boroughs), procurement options, programme costs July 2007
Draft Outline Business Case (OBC) to DCLG July 2007
Report to FPP Committee Oct/Nov 2007
Submit OBC to DCLG and Project Review Group (PRG) Nov/Dec 2007
PRG approval January 2008
PIN and OJEU notice, issue PQQ, briefing day January 2008
Pre -Qualification and shortlist March 2008
Invitation to participate in the competitive dialogue (ITP) April/May 2008
Submission of initial tender July 2008
Dialogue to continue as appropriate including interview, clarification and evaluation December 2008
Submission of final tender March 2009
Finalise Contract June 2009
Seek Authority approval to award contract July 2009
Award Contract Aug 2009

So presumably the new fire station won't actually be in place before 2011 at the earliest.

My question is who owns the fire stations at the end of 30 years - the Fire Brigade or the PFI contractor? James might want to press the LFEPA on this.

One wonders how much attention the burden of PFI charges on Londoners for the next thirty years will get at the meeting on Monday compared with the revised plans for the Chair's new office accomodation at Union Street?
Saturday 18 November 2006 3.40pm

The likely timescale for the scheme was one of my questions to the LFB/LFEPA press office, but I have learnt from experience not to expect a speedy response from them.

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Monday 20 November 2006 12.46pm
Lang Rabbie - is there much doubt about who will own the stations at the end of the term of the PFI contract? I would have thought that this is a no-brainer and that ownership reverts to the LFEPA (and had assumed that this was how all PFI contracts worked). Though I also think that it's a no-brainer that PFI will end up costing the taxpayer more money in the long-term so I clearly don't understand the issue as well as our government ;-).

(Presumably if ownership was retained by the private sector then this will be reflected in the value of the contract but of course that would not be much comfort to people living in the vicinity of the station who might find themselves with significantly less cover in 30 years time.)
Monday 20 November 2006 5.23pm
Neil wrote:
Lang Rabbie - is there much doubt about who will own the stations at the end of the term of the PFI contract?

I couldn't find an answer quickly throuh looking at previous reports to the authority's finance committee.

I know this was a concern for some of the "LIFT" projects being delivered across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham PCTs for new health centres - although in more cases the private sector partner is doing the initial site acquistion.
Monday 20 November 2006 7.08pm
Thanks - I've emailed a member of the LFEPA and asked him to raise this (with a couple of other issues) at the main meeting on Thursday. (I think today's meeting was of a subcommittee of the LFEPA only.) I will post any reply I get.
Thursday 30 November 2006 3.31pm
Unfortunately this didn't make it on the agenda of the main LFEPA meeting so we don't have answers as yet. The questions will be submitted for the next meeting but by then James may have had a reply from the press office anyway.
Monday 19 November 2007 2.41pm
Some updated info on the PFI programme here [PDF] - answer starts on page 13.

Interestingly Old Kent Road fire station has been identified as a 'substitute station' for a PFI rebuild if any of the other sites fall through (principally because there is a 'risk' that English Heritage might seek to have some of the existing historic fire stations listed!)

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Monday 19 November 2007 3.16pm
Oops - I forgot to post the answer to the questions asked at the LFEPA way back in January:

18 Questions
(Agenda item 16)

(i) Question by Councillor Johnson

In relation to the new PFI deal to rebuild 10 fire stations across London, can you confirm:-

(a) how thoroughly were other financing arrangements, particularly public funding, investigated?
(b) what are the annual payments associated with the PFI contract(s) estimated to be?
(c) are there any residential/commercial developments planned for any of the sites?
(d) who will own the sites at the end of the contract period - can they guarantee the LFEPA will hold on to them all?
(e) what timescale are we looking at for building work to start?

Reply by the Chair

The following reply was circulated to all members prior to the meeting:-

(a) Other financing arrangements have been investigated. These include the likely level of borrowing to fund the capital programme as well as the possibility of revenue support to the capital programme, neither of which would support this level of investment in the Authority's fire stations. In terms of funding from capital receipts, the likely income from the 2 immediately available sites for final disposal (Headquarters and Bunns Lane in the London Borough of Barnet) have already been included in the medium term financial profiling. Although the Authority has been progressing the corporate property project initiative, which aims to release any latent value, individual schemes will be delivered in the long term and disposal value is not guaranteed. Sale and leaseback was also considered but dismissed as a viable option as the leasing structure would give no financial advantage to the Authority.

A detailed outline business case (and later a full business case) will need to be completed (and approved by the Authority, DCLG and the Treasury) to demonstrate conclusively that the proposed project will represent value for money and be affordable for the Authority.

The PFI credits will provide the Authority with real additional funding of nearly 52m that will enable it to provide 10 fire stations which are community facing and designed to high environmental standards, which was a specific factor in the bid. Without additional PFI funding this level of urgently needed capital investment in station stock could not be achieved. The PFI funding received for the Authority's vehicles scheme, for example, has freed up the capital programme and has also provided for total replacement of the appliance fleet by 2007/08, enabling the Authority to meet the proposed Local Emission Zone (LEZ) standards. This would not have been achievable under the previous self financing arrangements.

(b) As part of the work on the outline business case, more detailed analysis will be undertaken to determine an estimate of annual payments associated with the PFI contract. An indicative estimate at this stage suggests that the annual payment to the contractor or contractors will be around 5.5 million per year at 2007 prices. This will be offset by annualised PFI income from DCLG OF 4.061 million, leaving the Authority to contribute about 1.5m net per year. These figures are however very much estimates at this stage and will need to be confirmed by further work, and submitted to the Authority for approval, as the project proceeds.

(c) Given the locations and site limitations at the identified sites we expect that only a few of the local planning authorities would permit the provision of any residential/commercial developments. However, options for including other developments on each site will be investigated both with bidders for the work and with the planning authorities as the project proceeds.

(d) It is intended that ownership of the fire station sites would revert to the Authority at the end of the concession period to the PFI provider. Where any of the locations have other residential/commercial developments also on-site, it is possible that the fire station element of the site will be leased to the Authority on long term leases (normally for a minimum term of 99 years) and at minimum rental. This aspect will need to be fully explored as part of the discussions with bidders and the outcomes reported back to the Authority for decision.

(e) The timetable currently assumes that the PFI contract award would take place by August 2009. Building works would therefore start some time after this date.

Councillor Johnson - Thank you Chair.
Tuesday 20 November 2007 10.04pm

Anyone know when the final PFI scheme details are coming back to the authority?
Wednesday 28 November 2007 5.55pm
I used to live in Wolsely Street where the Fire
Station is,during the war we had some Saturday
nights there dancing,fire engines were put out
the back and we danced there,had some good times
that was when the war was easing off,
We used to see the firemen/afs come back in the
mornings after being out all night fighting fires
in a terrible state.

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