Transport projects including the controversial Arbroath active travel plan and a new road linking Montrose to the A90 are among Covid-delayed projects on Angus council’s capital plan.
But while the pandemic has impacted design and constructions schemes, councillors have been given an upbeat prediction for how close the authority will come to securing the budget savings in its transformational change programme.
Officials say despite the challenges of 2020, they remain confident of shaving £8.5 million from council spending this financial year.
The savings figure is slightly down on where we thought it would be, but that’s hardly surprising given all the other things that are going on.
Council finance spokesman Angus Macmillan Douglas
Finance director Ian Lorimer said: The ‘locked-down’ position achieved for financial year 2020/21 is that £8,577,214 of savings have been achieved.
“This equates to meeting 95% of our updated target savings of £9,033,214 for 2020/21.”
Risk remains for leisure and culture trust
He warned there were still financial concerns around the arms’ length Angus Alive leisure trust.
“Notwithstanding the relatively positive position, there will continue to be significant ongoing work to address the risk surrounding Angus Alive’s ongoing short to medium-term business viability,” he added.
A near £1/2m saving target set for the leisure and culture body has been set aside in case it is needed to support the business which saw a six-month shutdown of its facilities.
Administration finance spokesman, Councillor Angus Macmillan Douglas said: “This is tremendous work in maintaining savings of £8.5m this year.
“It is slightly down on where we thought it would be, but that’s hardly surprising given all the other things that are going on.
“And we must not forget this is all part of savings of £60m over the past four years.
The long-awaited A90 to Montrose link road had been earmarked for an initial construction phase this year.
Mr Lorimer said: “A more substantive re-profiling of the updated capital budget is required and will be reported to committee in due course, once the preferred route(s) stage has been reached, which is forecast to be by the end of 2020/21.”
A92 Sustrans scheme was scheduled for 2022 start in Arbroath
The £13m Arbroath active travel plan has also been hit by the pandemic and will be re-profiled on the capital programme.
It aims to improve walking and cycling links around the A92 which runs through the town.
But there has been local opposition to the project, with claims of a lack of consultation over designs.
Arbroath is one of ten projects 10 across Scotland being funded under the Sustrans Community Links Programme.
The transport body will deliver just over £9m for the scheme, with the council financing the remaining £4m.
Construction is due to get underway in 2022, with completion towards the end of 2023, but planned community consultation events which the authority hoped to stage before Christmas have yet to take place.
Other affected capital plan projects include the replacement of The Gables facility for adults in Forfar and leisure equipment replacement.
“The capital expenditure is considerably down because of Covid and the work that was allowed to be done, particularly of a construction nature,” he said.
“We have addressed how we are going to catch up – we’re not going to do that in one year but it’s very important to our economic recovery programme.
“I hope we will be able to employ local contractors where possible so we can help to offset any rise in unemployment in Angus that may result from Covid.”