Upgrade work across Dartford town centre has hit delays and seen cost increases according to a report as disputes arose between the authority and their contractor.
Work has been completed on part of the town centre which has seen public realm improvements, but more phases remain.
The entire project has been split into various phases:
- Phase 1: Market Street
- Phase 1a: High Street
- Phase 2: Instone Road and Highfield Road junctions
- Phase 3: Hythe Street
- Phase 3a: Spital Street (subject to funding approval)
- Phase 4: Home Gardens
Phase 1 is complete but Phase 1a has hit problems. There are disputes between the council and the contractor.
According to Dartford Council: “The contractor commenced works on 28 June 2021, resulting in a projected completion date, based upon the contractor’s programme, of 25 April 2022; a delay of 3 months.”
“Initial progress of the paving works, which commenced at the eastern end of the High Street, was slower than anticipated and the Council’s determination to secure performance in relation to time, quality and materials gave rise to several disputes and counter claims generated by the contractor.
The Council is taking steps to seek resolution to these issues and has escalated the formal resolution process.”
Completion is now expected on 25th July 2022.
Phase 2 was awarded to the same contractor – and further issues have arisen. A commencement date was agreed as 29th March 2021, with the works to be completed by 30 January 2022. The authority now state:
“Completion will now not be until at least Autumn 2022. Whilst any delay is regrettable, the Council is clear that the specification of materials is key to the project’s ultimate success.
The Council is working to escalate the issues to bring an early resolution.”
Issues include sourcing paving from Asia which has been hit by shipping delays and shortages. The council state they’ve attempted to source from Europe.
The “Dartford Town Centre Regeneration (DTCR)” project is funded via external grants from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) (£7.7m) and Local Growth Fund (LGF) (£4.3m).
Cost increases now mean money is to be secured from millions being paid from developers constructing new-builds at sites such as Copperhouse Green on land formerly owned by Tesco.
Cost increases at Phase 1 would be met via developers using £1.61 million under Section 106 income, with Dartford Council paying £1 million.
An additional £2 million in CIL funding would be spent on later phases if the scope of work widens to include Spital Street, which was never included in the original funding package.
Details of the meeting can be found here.