Calls for HQ project to be scrapped after announcement it would not be delivered through council partnership - The Leamington Observer

Calls for HQ project to be scrapped after announcement it would not be delivered through council partnership

Leamington Editorial 3rd Sep, 2019 Updated: 5th Sep, 2019   0

PLANS for new district council headquarters hang in the balance.

Warwick District Council has decided not to deliver its controversial HQ project through PSP Warwick LLP – the limited liability partnership (LLP) it established with private company, Public Sector PLC in 2013.

The scheme, which is expected to cost around £18million, would include a new council HQ, with its current Riverside House site replaced with housing, and a new multi-storey car park at Covent Garden.

This project was the only one that the LLP was responsible for and the council says it is discussing the partnership’s future.

Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day said: “No decisions have been made on the proposed HQ relocation or the future redevelopment of the Covent Garden area pending the outcome of the review that was announced by the new administration.

“These issues will be the considered by the council at a future date.”

But Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western says the council should reveal how much was spent on the partnership.

He told the Observer: “The council still wants to build itself new offices and they make no mention of how many millions this has cost the taxpayer in wasted project costs and fees to PSP. I have written to the council asking for full disclosure.

“This kind of outsourcing and private involvement in the business of local authorities should always be subject to the highest possible scrutiny. Instead, the cloak and dagger nature of projects such as this are of concern to myself and residents.”

The council says little has been spent on the partnership and it is ‘reviewing’ the relocation project.

Mr Western is now calling for the council to scrap building a new HQ completely – something he currently has a petition against, which has so far gained around 8,500 signatures.

He added: “Council fence-sitting over this project has gone on for long enough. The public does not support it.

“I have been consistently vocal against the move, which in my view, and the view of many business owners in Leamington, would be seriously damaging to the local economy. I will continue to campaign against their relocation project, regardless of PSP Warwick’s involvement.”

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