Borough council will pay price after setbacks

Basingstoke Gazette: £1million settlement for Malls refurbishment £1million settlement for Malls refurbishment

A SETTLEMENT has been reached over the construction costs of the refurbishment to The Malls – and it’s ended up costing the borough council around £1million.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been in negotiations with Wates over the final cost of the shopping centre revamp and the cost of additional work.

The Malls, which is owned by the borough council, was officially opened four months later than expected, in November 2011.

But workers from Wates were sent back in April 2012 to deal with various problems, including uneven paving, paintwork scratches and missing bins.

Two years after the project was officially completed, the council has agreed a final cost of just under £6.5million for the building work, which is about £1m over the original budget.

The borough council has said that the facelift was a “complicated scheme” because the centre needed to remain open during the refurbishment, making it difficult to forecast all the costs in advance.

Councillor John Izett, cabinet member for property, finance and commissioning, said: “Because the final building costs have exceeded the original budget, a report, which will be made available to the public and councillors, has been commissioned to establish how the extra costs over the additional works arose, and whether there are any lessons to be learned.”

He added: “The decision to invest in The Malls has stopped the area from going into decline and given a boost to the town as a whole. New retailers have been attracted to the centre and the footfall rates are up.

“All of this is good for Basingstoke’s position as a regional retail centre, and The Malls is now a much more attractive gateway to the town for people arriving by public transport. It is important to recognise the lasting outcome of this investment.”

Gary Campbell-Dykes, business unit director for Wates Construction, Southern Home Counties and South West, said: “The complex renovation of The Malls, as hoped, fulfilled Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s vision for a vibrant and attractive retail facility.

“However, the project was not without its challenges and I am pleased that our negotiations with the council with regards to the financial settlement for the refurbishment have reached a mutually agreeable conclusion.”

The refurbishment of the 1980s-built shopping centre included installing a clear roof canopy, lighting, toilets, and creating an archway entrance from Basingstoke railway station.

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