Issue details

19/00095 - Discovery Park: Growing Places Fund


Withdrawn as applicant decided to not proceed with the loan application.



Proposed Decision:


·         Kent County Council be the administration and funding decision authority for the £5.3m allocation from SELEP’s Growing Places Fund;


·         KCC draws down capital funds of £5.3m from the Growing Places Fund;


·         KCC makes available loan finance of up to £5.3m from the Growing Places Fund to support works at Discovery Park to build a spine road and associated infrastructure to enable the building of 500 new residential homes;


·         Authority be delegated to the Director of Economic Development to take appropriate actions, including but not limited to, entering into legal agreements as necessary to implement this decision.


Provided that:


1.    Kent County Council is able to agree a satisfactory loan agreement from Essex County Council as the accountable body for SELEP’s Growing Places Fund; and


2.    The receipt of a satisfactory application for loan finance for the works at Discovery Park subject to the rules of the Growing places Fund and the findings of an independent financial appraisal.





KCC shall invite applications for loan finance of up to £5.3m for infrastructure at Discovery Park. This £5.3m will be obtained from the Growing Places Fund (GPF), which is administered by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). Applications will then be appraised and considered through the same process as that which is currently used to determine applications for loans from the Kent and Medway Business Fund (KMBF). This means that any application will be required to submit a full business plan, be subject to independent appraisal and be considered by the KMBF Investment Advisory board before a decision is made by KCC. The owners of the Discovery Park site are aware of this proposed process and we anticipate that an application will be forthcoming when the process is launched. In parallel with this process, KCC shall seek to enter into a loan agreement with Essex County Council (the Accountable Body for GPF). These terms have been discussed with Essex County Council and have received an in-principle agreement. However, they will need to be formalised when an agreement to lend to a borrower have been reached.  


Options (it is a legal requirement (2012 Executive Arrangements regulations) to outline other options considered)


The alternative would be for Kent County Council not to act as an agent for SELEP for the £5.3m Growing Places Fund loan. There is no evidence that this would be a more effective way of achieving the outcome of securing investment in Discovery Park, and there is a risk if the funding allocation is returned to SELEP that it is no longer ring-fenced for investment in Discovery Park or the wider Kent area.



Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Withdrawn

Notice of proposed decision first published: 19/11/2019

Decision due: Not before 18th Dec 2019 by Cabinet Member for Economic Development
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance to statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Lead director: David Smith

Contact: Martyn Riley, Economic Development Officer (Expansion East Kent Programme) 03000 417161.


The proposed Key Decision will be discussed at the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 28 November 2019.

Financial implications: The loan of £5.3m will be capital funding allocated from non KCC funding sources (that is, the SELEP Growing Places Fund). KCC estimates that there will be revenue costs associated with application processing, appraisal, valuation and legal costs: these can be confirmed at the application stage. There will also be an ongoing administrative cost to KCC related to monitoring over the period of the loan, which would be covered by an administration charge levied on the borrower.

Legal implications: A legal agreement will need to be drawn up between KCC and Essex County Council to effect the transfer of Growing Places Fund monies to KCC. A legal agreement will need to be drawn up between KCC and the borrower to transfer the Growing Places Fund monies to the borrower. The loan agreement would incur a charge being taken against the assets of the borrower. KCC would maintain responsibility for monitoring repayments from the successful borrower.

Equalities implications: Equalities implications – An Equalities Impact Assessment will be undertaken should a loan application be received. Data Protection implications – To enable KCC to administer the Kent and Medway Business Fund, it is required to hold personal details about the borrower. KCC also collects anonymised information about protected characteristics as part of its Equalities Impact Assessment monitoring.

Agenda items