Agenda and minutes

Venue: Meeting not open to the public

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No. Item


Welcome and Opening Remarks

The Chair will welcome attendees to the meeting and make opening remarks.


Chris Hinson, Chair of West Bromwich Local Board, introduced herself as deputy Chair for the Town Deal Board in the absence of Jude Thompson. The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting of the Sandwell Towns Fund Superboard.



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from the following Superboard members: -


·       Jude Thompson – Chair of Sandwell Superboard

·       Adrian Eggington – Chair of Rowley Regis Local Board

·       Alan Taylor – Chair of Smethwick Local Board

·       Kim Bromley-Derry – SMBC Interim Chief Executive

·       James Morris – MP - MP Halesowen and Rowley Constituency

·       Nicola Richards, MP – MP West Bromwich East Constituency



Apologies of absence were received from the following Project Leads: -


·       Hayley Insley – Project Lead for Grove Lane Regeneration and Rolfe Street Canalside Regeneration

·       Jane Lillystone – Project Lead for Town Hall Quarter


Minutes pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2021 as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2021 were agreed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from members relating to any item on the agenda.


No new declarations of interest were received.


Existing and continued declarations from previous meetings: -


·       Wendy Brookfield- Project lead on Digital Den Project, West Bromwich.

·       Adrian Eggington- Interest in Shaftesbury House site so will refrain from discussion with regards Sandwell MEC project, West Bromwich.

·       Nicola Richards MP- Trustee of the Albion Foundation

·       Alan Taylor – in relation to any matters relating to Sandwell College

·       Geoff Layer – in relation to any matters relating to University of Wolverhampton

·       Graham Pennington – in relation to any matters relating to Sandwell College.


Town Deal Local Boards pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive a report outlining the activity of the Town Deal Local Boards.

Additional documents:


Chris Hinson, Chair of the West Bromwich Local Board, reported on recent local board meetings. Board members continue to be well engaged with the projects and good progress is being made on the development of the Full Business Cases (FCBs).


A number of proposed site visits are being arranged for local members to visit both the Town Hall and Retail Diversification Programme sites in December. This offer was extended to any superboard members that may want to attend. Superboard members were advised to contact relevant officers to arrange



From a programme management perspective, Chris reported to Superboard that all West Bromwich projects are now green RAG rated in light of the efficiencies made to the assurance process that will be outlined later in the meeting.


Both Alan Taylor and Adrian Eggington were unable to join this meeting to provide updates in their respective roles as Chairs of Smethwick and Rowley Regis Local Boards.


The Chair then invited Austin Bell, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, to present an update on the Midland Met Learning Campus. This item was bought forward to allow the presenter to attend another meeting. The project level update is recorded within the original item ‘Full Business Cases for Tranche 3 Projects’.


Tranche 1 and 2 Full Business Case Update

To receive an update on the West Bromwich Digital Den, Urban Greening and Sandwell Cicil and Mechanical Engineering Centre projects.


Jenna Langford provided an update on tranche 1 & 2 projects.


The tranche 1 Digital Den Project Summary Document and Monitoring and Evaluation Plan was submitted to DLUHC in October 2021. To date, a response is yet to be received.


The tranche 2 projects have both now been approved by SMBC Cabinet and can be submitted to DLUHC. Summary Documents and Monitoring and Evaluation Plans will be submitted by 14 January 2022.


Tony McGovern added that there was strong support from all politicians and offered thanks to those officers involved with getting them through the process to date.


Chris Hinson also wanted to note her appreciation and thanks to those officers who had worked on these proposals.


Towns Fund Assurance and Programme Update pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To receive an update on the proposed change to the Towns Fund Full Business Case appraisal process and identification of any project changes.


Jenna Langford outlined a number of proposed changes to the assurance process for Full Business Cases. SMBC are now adopting an Assurance Panel approach which will deliver a number of time efficiencies.


The previous deadline of 10 November 2021 to submit FBCs to the Programme Management Office was unrealistic given the complexities.


The Assurance Panel is only applicable where projects receive external advice in the development of the FBCs, so this has now also been procured. Delegated cabinet authority was also sought so that senior officers can approve final submission to DLUHC. This approach saves time, resource and still provides robust due diligence.


This methodology was approved at 24 November 2021 Cabinet meeting and is therefore now fully enacted.


Tony McGovern reiterated that this route does not detract from the level of due diligence required for each of the projects.


Full Business Cases for Tranche 3 Projects pdf icon PDF 251 KB

To discuss and input into the following Full Business Cases included within Tranche 3, including any changes in scope: -


·       Smethwick Albion Family in the Park

·       Smethwick Grove Lane Regeneration

·       West Bromwich Town Hall Quarter

·       Smethwick Ron Davis Centre Expansion

·       Smethwick Rolfe Street Canalside Regeneration

·       Smethwick Midland Met Learning Campus

·       Rowley Regis Education Hub

·       Rowley Regis Canal Network Connectivitiy


Smethwick Midland Met Learning Campus


Austin Bell, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, provided an update on the Midland Met Learning Campus project. The project is progressing at pace and the team are now at RIBA Stage 2. Austin shared a number of conceptual design visuals to Superboard.


The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between partner organisations is close to being fully signed off and there have been positive meetings with the WMCA to drive the project forward.


The first draft of the FBC is expected imminently and the project is therefore in line to achieve the Towns Fund assurance submission date.


Austin outlined a number of risks and issues with the project. There is, given the conceptual nature of the scheme, a large contingency which should help with the issues around super-inflation of material costs.


Question raised by Tony McGovern, SMBC, around how the procurement process for the project will drive local community wealth.


Austin assured that local procurement metrics will be intrinsic to the procurement process and that work has been undertaken with Karen Richards, SMBC, to evaluate and understand the outcomes in terms of social value. A social value plan has been developed to sit alongside the project.


Question raised by Josh Singh, SMBC, around the environmental credentials.


Austin advises that the project is aiming for BREEAM outstanding and to be net carbon zero. Additionally, the project team are looking to reuse bricks from the City Hospital demolition where possible.


Action: Austin Bell to share the recently received sustainability report with the Towns Fund PMO for circulation. This will promote best practice in the borough.

Jenna Langford asked Austin to liaise with her Business Growth team to understand opportunities for local procurement. There is possibly the option to organise a meet the buyer event or distribute additional information to contractors to assist in this.


Action: PMO to arrange follow up meet between Austin and SMBC Business Growth to discuss opportunities.



Smethwick Albion Family in the Park

The Chair introduced Rob Lake from the Albion Foundation to provide an update on this project.


Rob advised Superboard that the project is now adopting a two-stage approach with a change in scope to certain elements of the project.


Rob advised on the revised outcomes including upgrades to the existing Regis Academy, improvements to Lewisham Park, new changing rooms and multi-use games area, all subject to further consultation.


Cost estimates were received yesterday and there is currently an identified funding gap. Quantity surveyor and architect are going back to revise design proposals to understand where efficiencies can be made.


There is an ongoing issue with regards payment of VAT which was not included in the original proposal. This also presents a budgetary challenge.


Mott Macdonald are now, as per the changes to assurance, supporting The Albion Foundation with the development of the FBC.


Question raised by Tony McGovern around the VAT implications.


Jenna Langford advised that SMBC Finance Dept have gone out to procure some specialist VAT advice to support the process  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16/21


Any Other Business


Question raised by Sandeep Shingadia with regards programme level risk register.


Jenna Langford confirmed that there is a programme level risk register and whilst it has not been shared previously, this can be shared with Superboard members for input and update.


Tony McGovern further commented that we will be in a better position to understand the programme risks once we have had sight of all FBCs at the beginning of 2022.


Action: PMO to include programme risks as an ongoing agenda item.


Closing Comments


Chris Hinson wished the SMBC Regeneration Team good luck at the Royal Town Planning Institutes Award ceremony taking place later that evening. The nominated project, West Bromwich Outdoor Market, was one of Towns Fund’s accelerated projects.


Given that this was the last Superboard meeting of 2021, Chris passed on her best wishes for the festive period and thanked members for their attendance.


Meeting ended at 16:35