£5m bill for res­i­dents af­ter road over­spend

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By Joel Lamy joel.lamy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

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 road­works

The works which took place on Flet­ton Park­way

Cllr Peter Hiller (left) and Cllr Keith Sharp.

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