News | 02/08/18

Council seeking local businesses to drive highways programme

Liverpool City Council is to launch two bespoke procurement frameworks to underpin a £500m investment drive in the city’s roads.

The new frameworks will be designed specifically by the council to enable it to deliver its reactive and planned highways infrastructure programme – with a focus on enabling Liverpool and Merseyside based contractors the opportunity to pitch for council contracts, bolstering the local supply chain.

The council’s procurement team have taken the first step to launch the new system by undertaking a soft market testing exercise with a questionnaire for highways contractors.

The sector has until August 10 to reply after which feedback will be collated and then used to fine tune the frameworks before their official launch at the end of August.

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has called for the development to underpin a £200m boost to the council’s £300m Better Roads programme, which is currently funding new roads across the city.

Two further procurement frameworks are also being designed to assist Foundations – the new ethical housing company established by the council to create 10,000 new homes and to refurbish dilapidated housing stock in the city. Foundations will also be given stiff targets to bolster apprenticeships in the region’s construction sector.

Liverpool City Council is currently overseeing 185 on-site development schemes worth a record £3bn, including the council’s own £1bn Paddington Village scheme and new cruise liner facility, and the Mayor said the authority’s focus was on taking a more pro-active role in stimulating the city’s economy.

Mayor Anderson added: “The council has long been aware that the state of Liverpool’s roads and are in need of a dramatic overhaul.

 “Collective appeals to government have largely fallen on deaf ears so we need to try something new and radical which tackles this issue and at the same time has a positive impact on the local economy.

 “The funding for the roads is in place and Foundations has now been established so the time has now come to fine tune the plans and start delivering.

 “To do this, and to make it easier for Liverpool companies to navigate our tendering process, the council’s procurement team is creating our first bespoke frameworks.

 “This a watershed moment for the council and symbolises the effort and commitment the entire organisation is undertaking to change the way we operate to be more business friendly so together the public and private sector can make a real difference to the future of the city.

The new £200m highways package will be invested over the next five years across three main elements:

  • £160 million in road reconstruction
  • £25 million in resurfacing and patching work
  • £15 million specifically earmarked for addressing potholes

The bulk of this new investment will come from borrowing £185 million over 25 years at low interest rates, supported by savings generated by the council’s transformation plan and ‘Invest to Earn’ strategy, which generates income streams from commercialising council assets.

A recent peer review by the Local Government Association found Liverpool City Council had prudent levels of debt for one of the major ‘core cities’ and robust financial management processes in place.

The Better Roads programme, which began in 2014, has seen over one hundred roads upgraded so far including the recent completion of a £1.6m upgrade to Park Lane as part of creating a continuous cycle route from Toxteth to the Baltic Triangle, connecting to Otterspool, and the ongoing construction of a new dual carriageway to benefit the development of the city’s north docks.

The landmark investment is aimed at tacking the deteriorating quality of the city’s roads and is a response to Central Government cuts of £444 million to the council’s budget since 2010.

  • A new interactive map has now been launched to allow people in Liverpool to discover when their road is being upgraded. The map – which outlines works on a 12 month rolling programme and will be regularly updated can be found at www.liverpool.gov.uk/roadimprovements – gives residents and businesses data on the nature of the road repairs, how much it will cost and when and how long the upgrade will take.