Liberal Democrats in the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland have hit out at Labour Council bosses who have needlessly cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands by their mismanagement of the old Town Hall at Eston.
Five years ago it was clear that the Town Hall and neighbouring James Finegan Hall, both on
Road, had had their day. The Lib Dem led coalition
which then led the Council was realistic about what needed to happen and
proposed demolition. The site needed £4 million spending on back-log
But opportunistic Labour Councillors vowed to fight to keep the buildings saying: “Our position is that when we get back control in 2007 we will keep open the James Finegan Hall and refurbish it" (Labour leader George Dunning, Evening Gazette, 8 Sept 2006).
Now Labour has done a complete u-turn and is getting rid of them. This means that for five years the Council has been paying £120,000 a year for scaffolding on James Finegan Hall. Meanwhile, in 2007 Labour also spent £125,000 on refurbishing the Town Hall when it had no long-term future. They have recently wasted £36,000 on alterations to the City Learning Centre including an unnecessary walkway.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Glyn Nightingale commented:
“The Lib Dems realised that the Council had more space than it needed and that the Town Hall and James Finegan Hall were becoming a financial liability.
“Now Labour has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn after finally realising we were right. In the meantime local taxpayers have had to pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds with nothing to show for it.
"It’s a welcome u-turn, but it’s come too late and been too costly."