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Concern over Sandbach Town Hall Costs

Labour Concern over Escalating Costs of Sandbach Town Hall Refurbishment



At the Sandbach Town Council meeting on Thursday 25 July, Labour councillors expressed concerns over proposals to spend £450,000 on Sandbach Town Hall(which has just been taken over from Cheshire East Council).


Labour councillors supported the principle of improving the Town Hall, a Grade 2 Listed Building at the heart of Sandbach. The proposals for a new efficient heating system and a movable temporary bar in the ballroom are universally supported.


However, concern was expressed as to the quality of information provided, the cost of some elements of the works and the results of the public consultation.


Labour councillors proposed reducing the costs by not building an information kiosk in the portico outside the Town Hall. Excluding these “External works to front elevation” would have saved £27,500, but the proposal was defeated. Concerns were also expressed over the £60,000 cost of the new lighting (though Councillors do not have a proper breakdown of what these costs are) and the £20,000 cost of the works on the existing ‘mezzanine’ bar area. It is not at all clear what the plans are for this area after the works have been carried out.


Cllr Ursula Griffiths said,

“It is regrettable that so much information has been labelled as confidential and withheld from the public.”


Cllr Sam Corcoran said,

“I was hoping for an informed debate with detailed information available on the costs of the major items within the schedule of works. In fact I had to attend the council offices in order to get at the information and had to do my own analysis of the tenders received.”


Cllr Richard Hoffmann said,

“This proposal to spend £450,000 is certainly the biggest financial commitment Sandbach Town Council has ever made. I would have liked to have seen a report giving details of the reasons behind the proposal, including a full analysis of the public consultation responses. I certainly haven’t had any people approaching me saying we need to spend £27,500 on an information kiosk. I hope that the public who were consulted were made aware of the fact that the Town Hall may take a number of years to see a return on its investment once it re-opens, as the Town Council will have to attract a significant amount of new business to run the Town Hall at a profit. This extra custom has yet to be identified in the business plan presented to Councillors last year.”



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