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Future of children’s assessment centre in Conwy discussed after construction company goes into administration

A council has held a “special” behind-closed-doors meeting after plans to build a flagship children’s assessment centre were left in chaos when the builder went bust.

Conwy county council held the cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon to try and thrash out what happens now with Bwthyn y Ddôl, next to Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay.

The facility was supposed to stop vulnerable children being sent hundreds of miles away to specialist private providers.

The centre is a first-of-its-kind venture in Wales between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Conwy county and Denbighshire councils.

Within three weeks of contractor WRW Construction officially breaking ground on the pioneering scheme it announced it told staff it was moving into administration.

Two weeks ago Denbighshire council’s social services chief Nicola Stubbins told councillors they would look for “alternative temporary venues” for vulnerable children while the mess was sorted out.

Conwy county council’s meeting today (Wednesday) was believed to surround the legal position of how it can engage another contractor, although it is believed no money had been paid to WRW prior to it entering administration.

The authority has restricted access to the meeting, meaning neither press nor public are allowed in, because it involved sensitive commercial and legal issues related to WRW and possible replacement contractors.

In a note to the agenda for today’s meeting it said: “Disclosure may prejudice the Authority’s and the potential tenderer(s) position and basis of trust in a confidential procurement process.

“The report includes financial details in terms of the expected project build costs and award of WG ICF grant monies.”

The total cost of Bwthyn y Ddôl has already been reported as £2,687,524, which will be funded through the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund (ICF).

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.

Llanelli-based WRW Construction Ltd, announced it would be entering administration earlier this month because it was experiencing “significant financial stress” despite having orders for work in excess of £60m.

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