BROMSGROVE District Council is being forced to fork out more than £80,000 of taxpayers’ money on repairing Churchfields multi-storey car park after the building fell victim to a prolonged series of vandal attacks.
The agreement to spend £80,500 was grudgingly taken at the meeting of the full council on Wednesday night (January 20).
It followed the repeated vandalism on the town centre car park which was, ironically, once given the Park Mark Award for ‘safe parking’.
At the meeting the importance of maintaining the car park to encourage use and maximise potential income to the council was discussed.
The decision to spend the money was sought from council leader, Coun Margaret Sherrey, and the chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee.
Coun Sherrey said: “We are proud of our car parks and, using money from the car park fees, ensures they are all well-lit and safe for our residents to use.
“Unfortunately, the actions of mindless vandals means we have to use even more taxpayers’ money rectify this unnecessary damage.”
But the council was criticised by independent Coun Steven Peters and Labour’s Coun Peter McDonald.
Coun Peters said: “I recall ASDA originally paid for part of the building, it was opened to great acclaim and we were told it was up to the highest standards of safety.
“I wonder why someone has fallen down on the job and not kept the place secure – they’re obviously not doing what they’re supposed to do.
“I don’t know what the degree of vandalism is but it should never have been allowed to escalate to £80,000 – specially in light of Bromsgrove’s current economic problems.”
Coun McDonald added: “How can the council just wake up one day and decide to spend £80,000 when cuts are being made?
“Vandalism would have taken place over a long period of time.
“It clearly shows an incompetent council who were blind to the damage being created.
“They should have acted earlier when the costs would have been in the hundreds, not in thousands.”
But head of environmental services, Guy Revans said the money was being well spent on improved lighting, painting and decoration and on security upgrades to prevent future vandalism.