Back in July I got in touch with the Office of Rail Regulation who are responsible for detailed monitoring of Network Rail's expenditure on stations to ask them about the budget and out turn for Kings Cross. I rang them and sent an email. I was told that this request would be treated as an FOI request if necessary. Then i heard nothing, even though an FOI request should be dealt with in 20 working days.
Yesterday I wrote about an apparent overspend following Network Rail's press notice mentioning 'Network Rail's £500m King's Cross redevelopment', higher than previous numbers. And I wrote to the Permanent Secretary at DfT.
Today I was delighted to receive an email from the ORR pointing to a range of documents which i reproduce in its entirety below. The phrase that pays is:
'However…we can confirm the project remains broadly on schedule against the budget for Control Period 4 (2009-2014)'
So we can rest assured that our public money is in safe hands, even though there is a fair bit of leeway in the phrase 'broadly on schedule'.
ORR email follows (i have turned long web addresses into hyperlinks):
>>Thank you for your email of 5 July in which you requested information about the budget for the refurbishment of Kings Cross station. I apologise for the delay in replying.
We can confirm that we are monitoring this major refurbishment project on a regular basis using information provided by Network Rail. As you are aware this is a long-term project and the construction contracts will not be concluded until after 2012. Much of the information is therefore commercially sensitive and not in the public domain until after the contracts are complete. However we can provide the following and confirm the project remains broadly on schedule against the budget for Control Period 4 (2009-2014).
1 For the current control period funding provided is a mixture of enhancement and renewals funds. Details of the funding for the current control period can be found in our PR08 Final Determination. This is available on our website. Chapters 5 and 9 include Kings Cross.
2 Network Rail provided further details of how they intended to deliver the project in their delivery plan. This is available on their website: see for example Appendix 22 Please note that these are total refurbishment costs. In summary this indicates a planned spend of: .
[note I reformatted the table – WP]
£m 2010 / 11 prices
Kings Cross refurbishment Project, capital expenditure
Please note that these documents use different cost bases.