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€600k 'housing' bill for site with not a brick laid

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 BILL: The Sutton Villas site. Photo: Mark Condren

BILL: The Sutton Villas site. Photo: Mark Condren

BILL: The Sutton Villas site. Photo: Mark Condren

A WICKLOW local authority has been slammed for a "€200,000 overspend" on a housing development in which nothing has been built.

Following severe criticism from councillors in February, Bray Town Council (BTC) released a breakdown of the €610,688.10 bill relating to the Sutton Villas scheme on Dargle Road.

CRITICAL

It revealed €351,732 went on site excavations to make way for the construction of four local authority housing units.

But the sum was about €200,000 more than what had been envisaged for the preliminary work, Fianna Fail councillor David Grant told the Herald.

He was heavily critical that more than €600,000 has been spent on the site without a brick being laid.

Explaining the higher cost, the council said it made changes to the "drainage alignment" after construction company Barnmac Contracting Ltd was hired.

This was done so the "new sewer would not be prejudicial to a possible future road access", it said in a report.

The council added: "This change increased the depth of excavation required and associated costs. During the course of the works, adverse weather conditions, in conjunction with the discovery of springs, resulted in additional unplanned excavation.

"These ground works also required the importation of fill material to help stabilise the embankment.

"Additional unforeseen costs arose from the discovery of an uncharted gas main.

WALL

"An additional retaining wall was required to the car parking area near Mount Pleasant Villas, this cost €35,000."

Mr Grant said: "It (the cost) was raised in the statutory audit report in 2012. I was shocked to see the money that had been spent. I intend to take it up with the Department of the Environment to ask them to investigate the handling of the project."

He is concerned that, despite the outlay so far, the money is not there to finish the scheme.

Mr Grant said he would ask the department to provide funding to complete the units.

The council said the department had approved a project budget of €834,678.

The expenditure to date included €76,020 spent on consultants' fees.

A series of costs were incurred for "additional works that have a benefit to BTC and were not included in the original budget", the council said.

"It would be our intention that they would not be charged to the (the department) budget," it added.

COMURPHY@HERALD.IE


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