by billhoult on 2 September, 2011
Liberal Democrats at County Hall are calling on North Yorkshire County Council to think again about the decision to proceed with the construction of the A684 Beldale/Aiskew/Leeming Bar Bypass. Council taxpayers it is claimed could be saddled with between £15M and £50M if the project costs overrun
Cllr Bill Hoult Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and a long term critic of the scheme comments. “Anyone reading the report by the officers will be astounded by the decision, once committed the Council will have no chance to alter the scheme. At a time when we are making cuts to essential services like libraries, social services and grants to voluntary bodies there is no justification for spending hard earned Council taxpayer’s money on “prestige” schemes such as this.”
The project initially calculated to cost £25million has now doubled to over £50m in only four years. In addition the Government has pulled the safety net that allowed most of any overrun costs on the scheme to be claimed back from the Government making it crystal clear that any extra costs will have to borne by the Council.
The officer’s report (which may be accessed on the North Yorkshire County Council website) sets out clearly the risks that the Council is taking
Works on the construction of the scheme will not start until 2014 and the Council has allowed for inflation of 2.7% per year raising the cost to £54M and have admitted that variation of the inflation rate by 1% would add a further £2.8M to the costs.
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Cllr Hoult adds “an inflation rate of only 2.7% is wildly optimistic in view of the current unstable market. In addition it is highly likely that the scheme will go to a public enquiry that will delay the construction even further. Liberal Democrat members hope that the Tory Executive will think again about this extremely risky project and not put Council Tax payer’s money at risk.”