Nottingham’s tram network will not suffer from the County Council pulling out of the scheme, the City Council has said.
The £28M of County Council funding has been replaced and the project has not been delayed, said Nottingham City Council spokesman Ioan Reed-Aspley.
“We’re in the bidding process now, everything’s on schedule at the moment,” said Reed-Aspley. He said the hole left by the County Council’s funding contribution would be covered: “The City Council is going to fund it entirely.”
“We had a bidding day and there was a lot of interest, and interest from European companies.”
Ioan Reed-Aspley, Nottingham City Council
That money might come from a number of sources. “It could be that more comes from the workplace parking levy than originally intended,” said Reed-Aspley. The City Council was originally set to contribute £149.5M. With the extra £28M, it will be funding around 25% of the PFI scheme.
The City Council is now taking calls from interested parties. “We had a bidding day and there was a lot of interest, and interest from European companies,” said Reed-Aspley. It is expected that the shortlisted companies to be invited to tender for the works will be known by the end of this year, and the preferred bidder will be selected in December 2010.
Reed-Aspley said the Phase Two project has not suffered from the County Council’s decision to pull out after Conservatives won the county elections – despite concerns during the election campaigns earlier in the year.
“It was the government conditional approval we were seeking,” he said. “That was the major concern at the time. We thought it might make those processes more difficult, but we convinced them we would take on that financial commitment.”
The major disadvantage coming from the County Council’s decision, he said, is that county residents will not have a say in the project. “The people missing out most are those in the county,” he said. “There will be no political representatives to represent them on the tram board – yet a lot of the routes go into the county area.”
Financial close on the project and full government approval are programmed for August 2011, with construction work due to start in 2011. NET Phase Two will be operational in late 2014.