Sunday, 30 November 2008

Wastewatch

Here's a top idea from TSunTel, a weekly article highlighting cases of taxpayers' money being wasted. It would be rude not to reproduce it here, wouldn't it? :0)

-1 -

A council is facing a bill of more than £400,000 because it has not yet finished a special walkway to mark the millennium.

The route, which was planned as part of the Portsmouth's celebrations to mark the year 2000, was set to run from Clarence Pier to the city's Historic Dockyard but legal wrangling over land access meant the final section was never built.

Portsmouth City Council was originally given enough money for the scheme by the Millennium Commission and developers, Berkeley Homes.

But because of the delays, rising costs and new health and safety regulations mean the council now has to find extra money, put at more than £400,000, from its own coffers.

If the council does not build the walkway by next June it will have to pay back some of the money it was given, plus interest - which would cost a further £400,000.

Councillor Steve Wemyss, leader of the opposition Conservative group, said: "This is a waste of public money that would not have happened if it had not been for these delays. The whole project is a fiasco."

Council chief executive David Williams is in talks with Berkeley Homes to see if it can extend the construction deadline past June. Liberal Democrat council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: "We have been trying very hard to find the best option."

Portsmouth city revealed its ambitious planned programme of developments to mark the year 2000 as long ago as 1995.

The Millennium Commission - a national body set up to hand out lottery cash to projects - agreed the programme of works, labelled The Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour. At the centre of it all was set to be the then-named Millennium Tower. Eventually, the re-named The Spinnaker opened in 2005, five years late and at a cost of £38 million.

-2-

Taxpayers in Essex are facing an extra bill of £223,000 after a £2 million upgrade of the local council headquarters went over budget – even though the building is earmarked for demolition.
The improvement project at Basildon Council head office, which began more than a year ago, involves the creation of a new meeting room, a waiting area, interview booths, customer advice desks and facilities to accommodate 250 more council employees.


The building, in St Martin's Square, is due to be knocked down as part of the council's long-term £1 billion transformation of the town centre which is hoped to take place within the next six years.

Councillor Geoff Williams, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group said: "It is a waste of money and seems to substantiate our concerns that the project was unnecessary given the council was proposing the remove the building in its own grand redevelopment scheme."

He added: "It makes you wonder what the overspend might be on similar projects."
Phil Turner, conservative ruling group councillor responsible for resources, said the council would save money by ending the lease on other offices as a result of the improvement.


-3-

A London council has revealed it spent £1,548 of public money flying its chief executive to a course on leadership skills in Boston even thought the council leader was also in attendance.
Barnet Council has revealed Leo Boland attended a BT Vital Vision conference – the same course attended by Cllr Mike Freer at a cost of £5,000.


Mr Boland is leaving the council to become chief executive of the Greater London Authority while Cllr Mike Freer is the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green.

The council also disclosed its deputy chief executive spent £454 on one return flight to Edinburgh to negotiate a new lease on the Brent Cross shopping centre and £520 flying to Cannes to attend a property conference. The figures came following a Freedom of Information request from political blog NotTheBarnetTimes.

A council spokesman said: "The Vital Vision programme presents new ideas from world leading lecturers and specialists in business that benefit the council not only at present but in the long term future as well. Barnet council has a cash flow of £1 billion and is a major organisation."
Councillor Barry Rawlings, deputy leader of the opposition Labour group said: "Taxpayers will want to know why it took a Freedom of Information request to find all this out. The council leader justified his attendance by saying the chief executive had approved it, and now we find out the chief executive was also going on the same course. Was it necessary for them both to attend at a time when money is short?"


Let's hope this is a long term series...

No comments:

Post a Comment