Thursday, 30 September 2010

Local politics


This week’s Brentwood Gazette front page story is about the fate of the town hall.

Our town hall was built in 1957.  There’s a picture of it up there….look.  Looks quite imposing doesn’t it?

Well apparently it’s not fit for purpose.

Apparently it’s worth £5 million but costs £500K a year to run the 56,000sq. ft.of office space.  To fix the leaking roof would cost £750K and apparently staff are largely rattling about in dark and dingy corridors.

The options to fix this “problem” are:

  • selling the town hall to developers and buying or renting at another location in town
  • knocking down and redeveloping the existing site
  • undertake major repairs and refurbishments to the current building

Selling the location to a developer won’t be a problem as this Tory council have a history if over-sized developments being passed be the planning department.  But buying or renting a place that can accommodate council staff in a location that can be accessed easily by Brentwood residents will be a challenge.

Knocking down and rebuilding so that we have a bland building that might last for 50 years seems to be a waste of inconvenience and investment.

The final option to me just begs the question: Why didn’t the council conduct ongoing maintenance?  How is it that we have a council office with a leaking roof?  Why haven’t efficiency issues been sorted before now?

Oh, and the roof costing £750K to fix….this is explained by the fact that our council has a history of awarding contracts to one contractor, usually the only one asked to bid, and usually Halladale, although naturally I’m not suggesting any bribery or favouritism…

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