Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Groves - Council leader economical with the truth over costs

Wrexham Council's recent behaviour over The Groves site can be summed up in the claim by council leader Mark Pritchard that the derelict site has cost the Education budget more than £1m. In today's press release he claims:
"By the end of this financial year, the Council will already have spent more than £1million from the budget for Education on maintaining and securing the school building."
It's as economical with the truth as you can get and worth examining in detail.

Fortunately campaigners from Save our Heritage have done just that:

The £900K figure bandied about on a regular basis by Councillor Mark Pritchard, is in fact the total spend, INCLUDING the demolition and asbestos removal of the modern parts of the school back in 2012/2013. It also includes grounds maintenance and other costs which were incurred because the building was in use till 2013. The actual costs of repairs and maintenance, and security for the 10 years from 2005 till 2015 were £219601. During this time, the building was in use by several different organisations.

The actual figures are as follows (information taken from Council provided figures on Freedom of Information Request FOI5487):
Total expenditure (from Council provided data)                  £940070
less demolition costs (2012/2013)£277753£662317
less non-attributable costs (see analysis below)£398951£263366
less income from use of building£43765£219601
Actual costs£219601

Asbestos removal and demolition of modern science block in 2012/2013 amounted to £277,753 - which was charged as Capital Expenditure - so not paid from Education Budget.

These are council figures remember.

The site is derelict today because the council withdrew it from sale to Coleg Cambria at the last minute in 2015 - after Cambria had drawn up detailed proposals to use it. The council claims to want the site for two new schools yet has not drawn up any plans for such or started any kind of consultation or discussion about what sort of schools they should be.

And yes, economical with the truth is a polite way to say that the council leader is telling porkies when he discusses the cost of The Groves.

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