Town still feel­ing the Car­il­lion af­ter-shocks


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CHAR­LOTTE GREEN

THE col­lapse of con­struc­tion gi­ant Car­il­lion sent shock waves through­out the coun­try.

Nowhere in Greater Manch­ester has the im­pact of the firm’s demise been more keenly felt than in Tame­side .

From CCTV up­grades and mak­ing pub­lic spa­ces safe from ter­ror, to im­proved play­grounds and a pro­posed chil­dren’s home, a string of vi­tal lo­cal ser­vices could all end up be­com­ing col­lat­eral dam­age in the wake of Car­il­lion’s down­fall. The ex­tra mil­lions it has al­ready cost to get projects back on track are set to have wide-reach­ing ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the 220,000 peo­ple who live and work in the bor­ough.

Through the Lo­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Part­ner­ship, Car­il­lion’s ten­ta­cles also ex­tended into build­ing Tame­side’s schools, pro­vid­ing main­te­nance and de­liv­er­ing meals for chil­dren. Un­til the start of the year, phase two of the £37m Vi­sion Tame­side de­vel­op­ment of Ash­ton town cen­tre and Tame­side Col­lege had been pro­gress­ing smoothly, with lead­ers hop­ing it would help kick­start huge re­gen­er­a­tion. Coun­cil leader Brenda War­ring­ton de­scribed the news that Car­il­lion had gone ‘belly up’ – just 105 days away from the build­ing work be­ing com­pleted – as ‘soul de­stroy­ing.’

The coun­cil quickly brought in Robert­son Con­struc­tion Group as the new builder, and got sub­con­trac­tors back on site. But even that swift ac­tion would have a hefty price – with the fi­nal bill to save the flag­ship de­vel­op­ment, put at £9.4m, forc­ing them to ‘re-pri­ori­tise their plans for fu­ture in­vest­ment and re­gen­er­a­tion.’ Tame­side’s ex­ec­u­tive cab­i­net has hit pause on 18 ma­jor in­vest­ment projects in the wake of Car­il­lion go­ing bust. The ex­tra costs in­curred means the coun­cil has around £10m less to play with. It is now un­der­tak­ing a re­view of its cap­i­tal pro­gramme for the next six years, and es­tab­lish­ing what it wants to pri­ori­tise and can still af­ford to do.

These in­clude a £600,000 pledge to im­prove chil­dren’s play­grounds in Tame­side, which would have seen 34 play ar­eas im­proved and made safer with new equip­ment.

A new chil­dren’s home, which would have cost £1m, and a con­tro­ver­sial plan to spend £300,000 on im­prov­ing the bor­ough’s ‘gate­ways’ through the in­tro­duc­tion of wel­come signs, could be scrapped.

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