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Firm wants extra £2million-plus for centre revamp
A DISPUTE has broken out over the final cost of refurbishing a Basingstoke shopping centre.
A report has revealed that Wates Construction, which carried out work on The Malls on behalf of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council last year, is seeking more than £2million in extra costs.
The council has so far spent £6.2m on the refurbishment, which included covered walkways and a landmark new entrance on Alencon Link. Finance chiefs have labelled the extra claims as “disappointing and concerning”.
Councillor John Izett, Cabinet member for property and finance, said: “The contractor is claiming £2.3m more in scheme costs than the currently valued position, but the council’s contract team disputes the scale and validity of the contractor claims.
“At this stage in a contract, it is not unusual for there to be a difference between client team and contractor over the value of works completed, and it is part of the contract process to determine final costs.
“It is nevertheless disappointing and concerning that the contractor has decided to make such a substantial claim. If there is any substance to this claim, we will need to understand how it has arisen.”
Cllr Izett praised the impact the improvements have made on the town centre, which was carried out without having to close The Malls during its year-long refurbishment.
He added there were a number of unforeseen problems, such as extra structural works to the lift shaft by The Anvil theatre, which were only uncovered when the area was stripped.
The council’s economic prosperity and performance committee meets today to discuss the council’s annual revenue and capital outturn, which includes the extra claims made by Wates.
A Wates spokesman said: “We are currently working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and hope a resolution is reached by the end of the year.
“As a locally-based business, we are committed to working on great schemes which benefit the local Basingstoke community.”