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Contractors appointed for construction of public realm areas across South Somerset regeneration sites

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Four contractors have been appointed that will help to deliver public realm improvements across South Somerset District Council’s regeneration sites of Chard, Wincanton and Yeovil.

Public realm improvements will transform the way that town centres will look – construction and improvements will take place in areas where the public move or congregate and will make areas more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.

After a lengthy and detailed tendering process, Alun Griffiths Ltd, SWH South West Highways, Midas Construction and Knights Brown were successfully appointed to bid for construction of public realm associated with the regeneration programmes of the council. The framework set out also covers major capital projects that our assets team may wish to carry out, plus any other towns that may wish to join and see regeneration over time.

The framework agreed with the contractors will be delivered over the next 4-6 years and gives good value for our residents through aiming to create positive social value, meeting the council’s environmental strategy goals and is value for money.

How does the framework of work add social value?

Public authorities are required to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being when procuring public service contracts. Through the tendering process bidders were required to identify how they will create social value during project delivery, for example through creation of apprenticeships or working with local supply chains. Embedding social value into procuring contracts has many values including:

  • Better value for money – delivering more for the public pound by requiring suppliers to do more than just deliver the core services
  • Increase local spend – by rewarding organisations that are local or have a local supply chain
  • Increased opportunities for disadvantaged people and promoting social mobility
  • Promoting a responsible supply chain by requiring businesses to compete
  • Leading to a cleaner and greener district
  • Building stronger more resilient communities
  • Leading to greater innovation and long term thinking.

Simon Dunn, Pre-construction Director at Alun Griffiths Ltd, said: “Griffiths are proud to be working with SSDC and we are looking forward to delivering public realm improvement projects which will make Chard, Wincanton and Yeovil more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses. Like SSDC, Griffiths is committed to delivering Social Value and every effort will be made to maximise the value of the contracts we deliver for the benefit of local people and their communities. We have made ambitious commitments to employ local people, provide apprenticeships and training opportunities, develop and invest in a local supply chain and embed ourselves within the communities we work – leaving them better for knowing us.”

Knights Brown’s Divisional Director, Bryan Kennedy, said: “We’re looking forward to working with South Somerset District Council and having the opportunity to get involved with some important projects, which will mean a lot for their communities. Similar frameworks with other councils form a significant part of our business. We find all parties benefit from continually working together over a period of years, importantly being able to add value for local people through offering apprenticeships and other such opportunities. We look forward to getting started early in the New Year.”

Mike Borkowski, Business Development Director at Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, said: “Having delivered many successful construction projects for South Somerset District Council, including the Yeovil Innovation Centre, we are thrilled to be appointed to the framework and are looking forward to improving some of the district’s key public spaces and transforming town centres for future generations.

“Midas is committed to leaving a positive impact on the communities it works in and we are looking forward to working closely with South Somerset District Council, and other partners, on these key projects delivering added value to local people and places.”

Mark Rands, SWH Contracting Framework Manager, said: ““SWH Contracting are delighted to have been awarded a place on the Framework.  Based locally to South Somerset, we are very excited by the potential opportunities this will bring to make a real difference within our local communities.  The blend of South Somerset Council’s ambition and passion for evolving town centres to support local people, and SWH Contracting’s expertise in both civil engineering and maximising social value opportunities will make a great combination - we’re really looking forward to working collaboratively with the Council and other appointed partners to make this Framework a great success.”

Now the four contractors have been appointed, mini bidding competitions for each piece of work can commence before then starting the work shortly afterwards. Public realm designs for the Yeovil Refresh project are due to be unveiled shortly with work likely to commence in early 2021; the first of many pieces of public realm improvement works to happen across the three regeneration towns.

Councillor Val Keitch, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “We are really pleased to appoint these four contractors to the framework who all have considerable experience in this area of work. Looking at how they can add social value to South Somerset, how they meet the our environmental goals and accessing their bid for value for money were key to their appointment and we are extremely proud that through the tendering process, we have managed to create more jobs in the local area for example.”

The impact of Coronavirus has had an effect on tendering, slowing down the whole process due to meetings having to be held virtually, on-boarding of the contractors taking longer due to restrictions and generally administration processes taking longer. This has meant that original plans to get work started in Yeovil before the end of 2020 has slipped by a few weeks and should now commence in early 2021.

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