Royton Town Hall redevelopment cost increases

Date published: 15 November 2018

Oldham Council have confirmed that the amount of money they are setting aside to pay for the redevelopment of Royton Town Hall and Library has significantly increased from their original budget of £2 million.

It was a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats in Oldham which first uncovered the rise in the budget for the project, with the group claiming as much as an extra million pounds had been earmarked for the project.

In a statement, Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Council Leader, said: “This is an important project for the regeneration of Royton.

“The original budget, based on a high-level feasibility study, was £2 million.

"But following more detailed designs and survey work it became clear that would not deliver a facility that would properly meet the needs of a modern library that is fit for the future.

“To do that, the costs increased to £2.4 million and – in addition – all regeneration projects must include a 24-per-cent contingency.

"This is designed to cover cost pressures or circumstances which cannot yet be known or predicted – which is good practise."

However, Councillor Howard Sykes, who leads the Oldham Lib-Dem group, fears this could become a regular thing for other projects.

He said: “I am worried that this will be just the first of many increases that the Cabinet will have to consider.

“This is to typical of Laboour regeneration projects – they are often late, over budget or never happen, and sometimes we have a combination of all three.

“Everyone will remember the £9 million plus being spent on the Princes Gate Project, now years behind schedule and still no preferred development partner announced; the other £400,000 frittered away on the abandoned Hotel Futures project; and the Oldham Town Hall refurbishment, which whilst being welcome, was four times over budget.

“Earlier this week we have been told plans for the new Coliseum Theatre have been axed – we have yet to find out what this has cost council tax payers.”

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