‘ABYSMAL’ mismanagement of a demolition contract ended up costing Bolton Council £261,000 more than expected after they were not informed of sky-rocketing costs on a prestige project.

Councillors heard a contract for the demolition of the former Late Club and Club Ice on Bank Street, for the redevelopment of Church Wharf, was originally set at £395,000.

After contractors began work in May 2019, unforeseen additional work was needed to prop the banks of the River Croal and walls and the budget rose to £514,000 by February 2020.

But when the final bill arrived in June 2020, it was for £896,000.

Members of the council’s place scrutiny committee heard a project manager from the council’s private sector partners Robertson oversaw the work on behalf of the authority. They heard between February and June, neither the project manager nor the contractor informed the council of the rocketing costs.

Additional invoices were only verbally disputed and challenges were not placed in writing. So when the final bill eventually came to light the council was legally bound to pay the full amount.

The demolition contractor was eventually paid £775,000 by the council after they began legal proceedings. The figure is £380,000 more than the original budget and £261,000 more than the uplifted agreed figure.

Cllr Akhtar Zaman said the situation was a ‘complete and utter mess’, which had cost the council tax payers of Bolton a massive amount of money. He was concerned ‘collusion or even criminality’ had occurred.

Gerry Brough, the council’s place director, told the meeting: “There was inadequate contract management. I authorised a budget revision to just over £500,000 on the understanding this would be the final claim.

“I then didn’t receive any indication of any more increases until the final account. I’ve got to be honest, that is not a lesson we should have to learn. We should be able to manage contracts better.

“The primary responsibility lies with the project manager and we’ve now brought in additional controls to ensure the project manager does not have as much leeway.”

Cllr Martyn Cox, deputy council leader, said: “This was a poorly put together and administered contract. There is no evidence of criminality and if there was I would be recommending prosecution.

“In short the contract management of this project was abysmal. The council is seeking compensation from Robertson and we will report back on what that figure is.

“I am satisfied even though the project went significantly over budget we have had the value of the work so all the extra money was not wasted.”

2 Replies to “Demolition deal blunder costs Bolton Council £261,000

  • Dan

    Just how high up do you have to go to find where there isn’t incompetence. Quotes by these senior officials are laughable but without doubt there are certain senior managers who are simply way out of their depth. Anyone who has had the displeasure of dealing with the Councils property dept or Robertsons will not find this news surprising. Isn’t it strange how the non-council involved developments in the town centre are just cracking on, whereas the ones being meddled in show no sign. Tell us that one scrutiny councillors.

  • Max

    Someone Please remind me why we have a private company milking the Tax payers of Bolton. When was overseeing the council contracts given private mafia is this a legacy Cliff Morris ‘The corruption under his watch was staggering beyond belief’ ,And who will probably get knighted for his services to Bolton recommended by his minions that he left behind as a final two fingers to the people of Bolton. Or is this a new policy introduced by the new Tories jobs and contracts for the boys club, we are becoming a copy of the American way = cooperate theft on a grand scale with no accountability, while i am ranting where does cooperate service’s stand in all this or the question begs to be asked why do we even have a cooperate services. Enough ranting back to my chip barm and chips ooooohhhhh

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