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22  February

Tourist Centre controversy as councillors demand answers

05/12/2023 @ 09:49


A working group will be urgently set up to take control of the project management of the work at the Tourist Information Centre, with worries that costs could be escalating and timelines are slipping.

In October, councillors voiced concerns after being told that the original budget of £109,000 did not include a number of fixtures and fittings which had pushed the new completion figure towards £140,000, even though it was explained that they had approved the original figure.

But at the latest full council meeting, Finance Officer Vanessa Voysey said that a grant for £177,000 had been applied for which raised eye brows in the chamber.

Cllr Phil Pritchard asked “what is going on?” as councillors were asked whether a new working group should be pulled together of councillors and construction specialists to oversee the project completion.

Town Mayor, Cllr Nick Howells, was keen not to revisit old ground and asked councillors to “draw a line in the sand” to move the project forward.

Ms. Voysey said a working group would allow for “greater transparency” which she said was needed across all council operations and decision making.

In October, councillors were told that the work to convert the Tourist Centre into a building that would incorporate the town council offices would be finished by Christmas.

But a new completion date was not mentioned last week, and Cllr Pritchard’s question of “why do we need this working group?’ went largely unanswered, with Cllr Howells revealing that “we possibly need to reassess the project”.

A majority of councillors volunteered to sit on the new working group and an open offer will be made to trade professionals to also join. The group will report back to the next full council meeting in December.

Yesterday, MyWelshpool revealed the shocking news that the Town Council needed an advance on its precept from Powys County Council last week after running out of money to pay its bills.