Agenda item

Strategic Operational Depot Strategy


To receive a report from the Chief Executive.



Cllr Caroline Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Street Scene, and Flooding, presented a report seeking Cabinet approval to recommend to Full Council a capital budget for delivery of a new central area strategic depot at Melksham and other related matters including co-development of business cases for new strategic depots in the north and south of the council area.


Cllr Thomas provided background on previous depot reviews and consolidation of sites where possible, challenges in dealing with forecasted growth, and that many current sites had poor access, were too small, or lacked required infrastructure. She emphasised the work undertaken across council services, led by Highways but taking account of strategic needs such as those relating to Waste management.


Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, noted multiple waste contracts which would soon be up for renewal, and the need for depot sites to fit for purpose to any waste strategy. Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Libraries, FM, and Operational Assets noted the significant spending required for the strategy, and the importance of appropriate governance moving forward. The Leader stated the strategy would enable the council to have greater flexibility on managing long term costs through provision of appropriate infrastructure.


Cllr Jerry Kunkler, Chairman of the Environment Select Committee, stated he had received a briefing on the strategy, looking at the benefits, challenges, and viability of the proposals. He stated he endorsed the report and his committee would welcome further updates as it developed.


Cllr Ian Thorn sought details on assessment of financial and environmental efficacy, and the approach taken on commercial issues associated with the strategy. Cllr Thomas stated approving the strategy would benefit the council in preparing to negotiate future contracts, though the central depot might open after new contracts were agreed, with phased implementation for sites in the north and south to bring forward appropriate benefits identified. She also stated carbon consequences of any depot construction had and would be carefully examined.


Councillor Gordon King stated the Cabinet Member had put forward a strong case for the proposal, but noted the high cost and sought reassurance on behalf of residents that it was at a justified level. Cllr Thomas stated the investment to ensure depots were fit for purpose was fundamental to the council’s ability to delivery statutory services in an effective way, noting there had been lost revenue as a result of a vendor not being able to utilise a current venue.


At the conclusion of discussion, it was then,




That Cabinet

1)    Endorsed the report and recommended to Full Council to approve a capital budget of £37.928m for delivery of a new central area strategic depot at Melksham while ensuring all remaining depots remain compliant, funded by £1.870m Capital Receipts and £36.058m borrowing. ?


2)    Approved the co-development of business cases for new strategic depots in the north and south of the county. Funding for these phases will be subject to approval based on the detailed business case being subject of future Cabinet? reports. 


Reasons for Decision

To ensure the Council can continue to deliver statutory services and Business Plan priorities, as relates to Highways and Transport, Streetscene and Waste, through a phased implementation of new strategic depots that deliver operational and cost efficiencies.


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