10/21/2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Former council leader questions £120k for over budget project

A former leader of Pembrokeshire County Council has questioned a decision to give £120,000 towards an over-budget community hub project in Neyland.

Neyland Community Interest Company needs £360,000 to complete the upper floor of the town’s hub or risk it being unusable and asked the local authority for a further £120,000 on top of previous funding.

Neyland Town Council was also asked to contribute £120,000 and facilitate the CIC’s borrowing of the same amount.

At its meeting on Monday (September 9) cabinet approved the request, which will result in more space within the building for the council’s use.

But Cllr Jamie Adams told the local democracy reporting service he may call the decision in.

Cllr Adams said: “I was disappointed with the level of scrutiny of that decision.

“I feel cabinet either glossed over some of the issues with this matter or chose not to discuss it.”

He added that the project, not managed by the local authority, had overrun and needed looking at.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, told the meeting that the proposal had been agreed “unanimously” by Neyland Town Council.

He added the council had “already heavily invested” in the scheme which could provide a model for future ventures if it is successful.

“It revolves around the library,” said Cllr Kilmister. “We are getting a library in a brand new building that’s there and then the sale of the old library.”

The increase in budget was linked to its approval in 2015 and inflation since, he told the meeting with future proposals likely to be expected to have sufficient contingency to allow for this.

A financial update report to cabinet states that without the upstairs a “number of key user groups” will not have the accommodation hoped for, which will “undermine the effectiveness of the Hub.”

Cllr Kilmister said: “I’m always reluctant about giving people extra money but in this case I feel it’s the only sensible route.”

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