A BIT of bargaining by Borough Council chiefs has secured more than £1million to help regenerate the town centre.
When Bedford Borough Council became a unitary authority in 2009 it inherited debts owed to contractors who had worked on the first stage of the Great Western Bypass.
Three years of bargaining ensued with council chiefs setting aside £4.4million to pay the bills for the new road.
But following extensive negotiations the figure has been reduced to a settlement of £2.9million meaning that the remaining £1.5million can be spent on improving the town centre.
Councillor Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance at Borough Hall said: “This contractual fiasco was yet another feature of the county council’s toxic legacy for local taxpayers.
“It made no provision to settle the extensive claims and cost overruns. The Council has conducted intensive negotiations with the contractor on behalf of local taxpayers to bring the figures down and it is great news that a fair settlement has now been reached.
“Of the £4.4million which we put aside to meet the final costs of the contract, we are delighted to be able to reallocate the full saving of over £1.5million towards investing in the Town Centre. This money can now be spent on improving our town centre for all, rather than on payments relating to a road which has already been built.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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