Monday, 12 May 2008

Darlington Council taken to task on overspends

By 'Bean Counter'

Eighteen months ago, it was announced that the scheme to pedestrianise Darlington’s town centre had gone more than £2 million into the red.

Now it has been revealed that the Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor link-road scheme has plunged £1.9 million into the red, costing £14.4 million instead of the originally-budgeted £12.5 million.

After the pedestrianisation debacle, the Council undertook an internal management restructure, but it has now been revealed, (in an external consultants’ report costing £22,000), that a new post created at that time to prevent problems blighting future projects was never actually filled – because the Council’s Chief Executive decided against it.

The report doesn’t pull any punches apparently. It claims that the Council was guilty of a series of oversights which allowed this latest scheme to spiral out of control.

Up to £1m in compensation payments for home owners was not considered – and the contract signed with builder Birse Civils left the Council liable for costs incurred by a delay in the project start date

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