COUNCIL chiefs are expected to give the green light to a £1 million project to address urgent works at Hardshaw Brook Depot, while it eyes a new site to store its entire fleet.

The council’s only operational depot is located between Jackson Street to the east and Warrington Road/Peasley Cross Lane to the west.

A review of the site, which stores a fleet of approximately 170 vehicles across a number of services, was originally commissioned as a ‘Transformation Project’.

The purpose was to identify the existing infrastructure, its condition, constraints and to determine the investment required to provide a fit-for-purpose facility that meets the current and future operational requirements of the service.

A cabinet report on the matter, which is due to go before cabinet on Wednesday, reveals that condition surveys have established that the majority of modular buildings within the depot have reached “end of life”.

The author of the report, strategic director of place services, Paul Sanderson, says it would not be “financially viable” to invest more capital expenditure in these buildings, meaning a replacement would be necessary.

“Providing a new-build alternative could prove more cost-effective as opposed to long-term investment in Hardshaw Brook Depot,” Mr Sanderson says in the report.

“Whilst this option may provide a more efficient alternative to investment in the existing site, it would require the identification of a suitable alternative site and at the present time, no such alternative has been identified.

“Sites of this nature, which could house industrial uses, are in high demand in the borough.

“If a suitable alternative were identified, the council would need to act quickly to secure a future purchase.

“There is however an immediate requirement to undertake identified repair and maintenance and these must be considered as a priority in order to maintain operational services.

“It is therefore recommended that immediate priority works totalling £1million be approved and that works commence as soon as practically possible.”

Perfect Circle was commissioned to carry out a feasibility study on Hardshaw Brook Depot in July 2017, which included detailed building condition and service surveys.

The surveys found that all external areas throughout the depot are deteriorating, including car parks and roadways, which may cause potential risks and therefore require “further significant investment”.

In addition, there are a number of other buildings, including the stores and admin block, which require “significant repair” in order to remain operational.

A number of fire risks that require urgent attention and completion before the end of October 2019 have also been identified.

The report says the advantages of retaining the existing site are its central location and established use.

However, it says the depot’s configuration is “restrictive”, causing problems with vehicle and pedestrian movements, while the layout leads to “operational inefficiencies”.

The site also has a history of ground contamination.

On Wednesday, cabinet will be asked to approve capital expenditure of £1 million to address immediate repair and maintenance issues within the depot.