Issue details

20/00083 - Local Growth Fund Round 3b Third Party Scheme - East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone

Proposed decision:


The Cabinet Member for Economic Development is asked to give approval for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone project to be progressed through the next stages of development and delivery including authority for Kent County Council   to enter into funding and legal contracts with the third party (NIAB EMR) who are delivering the scheme.


Specifically, to:


i)              give approval to enter into Local Growth Fund funding agreement subject to the approval of the Corporate Director of Finance & Procurement

ii)             give approval to enter into legal agreements with the third parties delivering the schemes to transfer the conditions of the LGF spend and project management to them


Background Information:


In the Growth Deal announcements in July 2014 (Round One) and January 2015 (Round Two), the Government allocated £482 million from the Local Growth Fund to capital projects across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area.


As the end of the Growth Deal (March 2021) approaches; projects throughout the SELEP region have experienced delivery challenges; therefore £33.396m of funding, from these projects has been returned for reallocation through the LGF3b pipeline list. Through this process, an allocation has been made available for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone project.  This scheme is being delivered by an external partner (NIAB EMR) and KCC will transfer the allocated funding onto the third party, for the delivery of the scheme.


It has been agreed with Government that SELEP and therefore Kent County Council will receive Local Growth Fund in quarterly instalments in advance in accordance with the scheme spending profiles, subject to completion of a Business Case for each project and the approval of the project by SELEP Accountability Board.


A Legal agreement has been prepared between KCC and NIAB EMR which will transfer all the LGF spend and project management responsibility on to them.  This includes updating Kent County Council monthly on project progress and spend; as well as completing the post scheme monitoring required by SELEP.


The East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone will be delivered in line with the current governance arrangements under the Local Growth Fund (KCC and SELEP). Therefore, the scheme will carry out necessary consultation and equality impact assessments as part of the scheme progression.


The business case for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone (£1,683,600) was approved at SELEP Accountability Board on 3rd July 2020. 


Before the legal agreement can be finalised for NIAB EMR; a key decision is required.  The LGF cannot be spent until the Key Decision is in place.



The options considered for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone are set out in the business case document which can be accessed here:


East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone (pages 24-26)




Decision type: Key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Malling Central;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 30/07/2020

Decision due: Not before 28th Aug 2020 by Cabinet Member for Economic Development
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Lead director: David Smith

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Tim Read, Head of Highway Transport 03000 410236 Email:


Consultation has been carried out by NIAB EMR during the development of the scheme.  No consultation has been completed by KCC as this is a third-party scheme which KCC is not contributing to financially.


The proposed decision was considered and endorsed by the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee on 25 September 2020:


Financial implications: The scheme is fully externally funded with no cost to KCC. The project cost/funding was £5,043,300 and LGF allocation of £1,683,600 closes the funding gap. KCC is simply passporting the funds to an external provider. KCC will incur costs in developing the legal agreement with NIAB EMR and administering the LGF and this will be charged to the project and is covered by the legal agreement. The only risk to KCC is, as is the case with any LGF project, that any abortive costs then become a pressure to KCC as they have to been written back to revenue. Mitigations are in place to prevent this eventuality.

Legal implications: None as third parties will sign up to the approved legal agreement prior to any funding being transferred.

Equalities implications: An EQIA is being developed by the third parties as set out in their business case and this will be submitted to KCC prior to the LGF being drawn down. No Data Protection implications


Agenda items