THE PROPOSAL to use a 50-year Public Works Loan to borrow the extra £700,000 to fund the extra costs incurred on building Bromsgrove’s new leisure centre was given the go ahead by the full district council last Thursday (June 9).
Members of the public speaking at the meeting, including Christopher Barnett from the Save Our Sports Hall campaign, and Labour and independent councillors criticised the project and the amount being spent to build a leisure centre whilst not either maintaining the sports hall or building a new one.
Coun Chris Bloore then put forward an amendment to put the project on hold so a full review could be carried out.
The Conservatives claimed any further delay could see costs increase even more and jeopardise the whole project, losing the town its leisure centre.
But Coun Bloore’s amendment was defeated by 16 to 11 with the Conservatives voting against it and Labour and independent members voting in favour.
Exactly the same 16-11 vote then pushed the original proposal through to borrow the cash from the Public Works Loan.
It was last month that Bromsgrove District Council revealed the cost of building the leisure centre had increased to £13.7million because the main contractors had encontered some ‘unexpected problems’.
After the former Blackmore House was bulldozed and trees were removed, more work was needed and it was decided the car park needed to be built across two levels.
It was also found the electrical substation supplying the new leisure centre would be inadequate, as would the water supply with Severn Trent water suggesting the mains be upgraded.
As well as the works and increased inflation on the project, the £700,000 loan will also cover an £82,000 ‘contingency fund’.