Thursday, 19 October 2017

Council may well double expenditure on new loos

A ROW has broken out over plans to refurbish toilets at Mill Meadows in Henley.

A ROW has broken out over plans to refurbish toilets at Mill Meadows in Henley.

The facilities at the Leichlingen Pavilion, which are more than 20 years old, are prone to bad smells.

A council working group has unanimously recommended appointing Robert Rigby Architects as consultants at a cost of £16,325.

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak and Councillors Sam Evans and Jeni Wood rejected another offer from consultants Monson which quoted £6,250. Councillor Gawrysiak explained to last Tuesday’s recreation and amenities committee meeting why the higher quote was chosen.

He said: “The reason for this is the refurbishment has to be done correctly and done with an architect’s eye. We were convinced that Robert Rigby would give that service.”

But Councillor Ian Reissmann said it was general practice to agree the lower quote, adding: “It is an awful lot of money”.

Chairwoman Jeni Wood said she wanted value for money, adding: “I don’t want cheap.

“We had three meetings just on this. I want the best job because cheap could last three years and a good job should last 20.”

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “We have spent a lot of time on this because it is a massive spend for the town. When we had a meeting with Robert Rigby we went into minute detail and we could because his quote went into that detail.

“The main difference between him and Monson is the build to tender process. The Robert Rigby process was absolutely 100 per cent detailed in terms of what they will do and how he would manage the process.

“He said there was potential to spend less as the project goes. Part of what they will do is come to us at every stage of the decision process, discussing materials, the types of basins and so on.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “I really reject your insinuation that we have not gone into enough detail. We could not have taken it more seriously.”

Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst said having confidence in the project manager was essential. He said: “Saving £10,000 on a project manager is a false economy.”

Cllr Gawrysiak added: “The important thing is we do feel Robert Rigby is the right person. It doesn’t mean ‘create a project for £100,000’.”

Cllr Reissmann replied: “We have a budget of £50,000 and we have someone who says we are likely to spend £100,000 so that’s £116,000. If we agree to go ahead we should bear in mind how much we are prepared to spend. I am not saying whether it is right or wrong but we are potentially committing to that. It is foolish to go ahead appointing someone who says it could spend up to £100,000 without finding it in our budget.”

The committee agreed to appointing Robert Rigby and the decision will be ratified by the full council.

In 2010, the council was told that it would cost around £230,000 to fully refurbish the toilets. Instead, it carried out a series of two-day deep cleans at a cost of £1,100 a time. It later admitted that this had been a waste of time and money and did not make a difference to the overall smell from the toilets.

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