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Denbighshire Council’s ‘Bwythyn y Ddol’ project could be delayed following WRW administration announcement

A social services chief will look to find “alternative temporary venues” for vulnerable children after a firm contracted to build a specialist assessment centre announced it was going into administration.
Nicola Stubbins told a meeting of Denbighshire council’s partnerships scrutiny committee the plight of Llanelli-based WRW Construction Ltd , which was supposed be constructing Bwythyn y Ddol, next to Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay, needed to be clarified legally before appointing another contractor.
The company announced last week it would be entering administration because it was experiencing “significant financial stress” despite having orders for work in excess of £60m.
The news came less than three weeks after the WRW broke ground on the children’s centre, on the former Meadow Lodge site in the town – with councillors, officers and Betsi Cadwaladr’s deputy chairman looking on.
At today’s meeting Ms Stubbins said they would keep on with plans to see families locally with a new multi-disciplinary team of social workers, family support workers, psychologist and occupational health professional.
She said: “What I can say is certainly no money was handed over to that company so we don’t have to try and pull anything back.
“But it’s a concern and it’s a potential delay to the build. That being said the multi-disciplinary team is in place and is working with families now.
“We have been exploring alternative temporary venues because even prior to this building firm going into financial difficulties we knew there would be time before it is actually built and operational.”
Miss Stubbins, answering a question about why councillors had found out about the issue through local media, said: “The lead member and cabinet were (informed) immediately we became aware the firm was potentially going into administration.
“My understanding is it hasn’t actually happened yet so we have to be careful about how we look at the contract and the decisions we make moving forward.
“We are taking legal advice at the moment, so as soon as we have information around what our options are and what decisions have been made we will inform all members.”
She added: “The difficulty is at this moment I don’t actually know because I have not had this sit down with legal and with Conwy (county council) to understand what that position is.”
The centre is a first-of-its-kind venture in Wales between Betsi Cadwaladr health board, Conwy county and Denbighshire councils.
The multi-disciplinary unit will house vulnerable children needing assessment for up to 12 weeks at a time and stop kids with complex needs being sent hundreds of miles away for care.
It will also have respite beds for emergency cases where children have to be removed from their situation for a short time.
Elsewhere it has been reported around 20% of WRW Construction’s 100 employees are poised to begin a Protective Awards claim for compensation against it.
Administrator Grant Thornton had written to the company’s workers telling them their contracts were terminated and the company was not in a position to pay them.
The local Democracy Reporting service has approached Grant Thornton for comment.

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