£5m bill for residents after road overspend
A major project to improve the Fletton Parkway went £6million over budget– with Peterborough city council taxpayers having to cover most of the overspend. Cllr Peter Hiller described the overspend as “unavoidable.’’
A major project to widen Fletton Parkway finished £6 million over budget after Peterborough City Council was hit with a second large bill. The overspend will cost local taxpayers £5.1 million, with the rest covered by money from the Government.
The latest bill of £836,572 comes 18 months after the council had to fork out £4.5 million due to problems including contaminated soil, poor drainage, cracks in the road and design changes.
Councillor EdMurphy, Labour and Co-operative member for Ravensthorpe, said: “I’m very disappointed this has come back again. I question the competence of the administration and the cabinet member responsible for overseeing this matter.”
Cllr MurphyandCllr Keith Sharp, Liberal Party member for Dogsthorpe demanded an investigation inFebruary2015 after the council paid the additional £4.5 million.
Cllr Sharp said council officers needed a kick up the backside over the latest bill. He added: “They need to be looking forward and seeing what problems may occur. Someoneneedstobeanswer- able for this.
“At the very least the cabinet member should be calling officers in to explain how there is a £6 million overrun, and, if necessary, take action.”
The latest problems have led to the replacement of a section of existing pavement which was starting to l ift and existing drainage gullies whichwereinpoorcondition.
Newconcrete foundations werealsoneededtoaccommodate new safety barriers, and concrete used when the road was first constructed needed to be removed before a new surface could be laid.
The council is funding the extra cost through a contingencyfund. Themoneywhich it is spending could have been usedforothercapital projects such as the construction of new roads or schools.
The c ouncil paid f or £3.6 million of the original £12.9 million budget for the project, with much of it fundedthroughgrants. Ofthefinal £18.8 million budget, it will havecontributed £8.7 million.
CouncillorPeterHiller, the council’s cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and economic development, said the widening scheme had attracted drinks manufacturer Kingsley Beverage and retailers House of Fraser to move into Peterborough Gateway at Great Haddon.
Calling the additional spend “unavoidable”, he added: “This must not detract from the fact we now have a fantastic new road system at one of the key entrances into the city which has delivered what we intended - less congestion and increased road capacity which in turn has unlocked growth in this area of the city.
“Themoneyweinvestedin theschemeismoneywewould have had to spend maintaining the road in the next couple of years had this scheme not taken place.”
The parkway works finally ended in July, 19 weeks late.
A council spokeswoman said: “With this particular scheme the issues were difficult, if not impossible, to predict.”
The works which took place on Fletton Parkway
Cllr Peter Hiller (left) and Cllr Keith Sharp.