Wednesday 18th October 2017,
North Yorks Enquirer

SBC: Town Hall Move Costs

Information has just come to light that puts the costs put forward by Scarborough Borough Council in support of their proposed move of the Town Hall to Eastfield in new light.

It has long been suspected that Scarborough Borough Council have a policy of the wilful neglect of public buildings so they can build a case for future disposal of those public buildings. One Councillor accidentally let slip at a public meeting that this had been the policy regarding the maintenance of the Town Hall at St. Nicholas Street, Scarborough.

This means the costs given as part of the Town Hall Accommodation Review are wholly inaccurate as a large part of the costs given for staying at St. Nicholas Street (Option 1) are essential maintenance that needs to be done in the short term. £3million of the total £5.8million maintenance costs over 25 years are to be spent in the short term. This essentially means that had SBC not wilfully neglected the Town Hall, then the real figure for staying put at St. Nicholas Street would be £2.8million. Also included Option 1 is a figure for refurbishing the Futurist Theatre. The Futurist money can be removed from the calculation as it has no bearing on whether the Town Hall stays or moves to Eastfield.

A Freedom of Information request was made to look into SBC’s claim that they need to spend £1.7million on IT just to stay at St. Nicholas Street. The information provided by SBC makes it clear that the IT spend would happen whether they stayed at St. Nicholas Street or moved to Eastfield (Option 2). Again, this figure can be removed from the calculation as it is a red herring.

My Costs for (Excl IT) Option 1:
£5,800,000 Maintenance costs over 25 years
£5,800,000 Total Cost to Stay St. Nicholas Street

Funded by:
£2,975,000 Reserves
£2,825,000 25 year Loan
£226,000 Cost Per Annum

My Costs for (Inc IT) Option 1:
£5,800,000 Maintenance costs over 25 years
£775,000 IT and Cabling
£6,575,000 Total Cost to Stay St. Nicholas Street

Funded by:
£2,975,000 Reserves
£3,600,000 25 year Loan
£288,000 Cost Per Annum

SBC’s Costs for Option 1:
£5,800,000 Maintenance costs over 25 years
£775,000 IT and Cabling
£2,200,000 Futurist Repairs
£8,775,000 Total Cost to Stay St. Nicholas Street

Funded by:
£2,975,000 Reserves
£5,800,000 25 year Loan
£465,000 Cost Per Annum

SBC’s Costs for Option 2:
£2,700,000 Cost of Prospect House
£775,000 IT and Cabling
£1,500,000 To Refit Prospect House
£1,000,000 Cost of New Customer First Building
£1,000,000 Prospect House Maintenance costs over 25 years
£1,000,000 Moving Costs
£1,000,000 Joint Venture Investment
£8,975,000 Total Cost to move to Eastfield

Funded by:
£2,875,000 Reserves
£3,000,000 HCA
£3,100,000 25 year Loan
£260,000 Cost Per Annum

The costs given by SBC for the maintenance of Prospect House over 25 years are a work of fiction. They are suggesting it would cost £40k per year to maintain the building and it is well known the entire roof will need to be replaced within 10 years. The figure provided by Nick Edwards is bizarre – if not deliberately misleading.

What stands out from those figures? If we were told the actual building maintenance costs for Prospect House, then the cost of moving to Eastfield (Option 2) may exceed staying at St. Nicholas Street (Option 1) by some way. Even without those figures there is obviously no financial imperative to move the Town Hall to Eastfield. It is far cheaper to keep the Town Hall on St. Nicholas Street.

One question that needs to be answered is ‘How much has this wilful neglect of public buildings cost the public?’. I don’t for one minute believe that SBC would have spent £3million on Town Hall building maintenance over the past eight years. If we take the current estimate of £2.8million over 25 years we can see it would have cost £900k in building maintenance over eight years. Has this policy of wilful neglect cost the public £2.1million?

It seems that your elected members are being brainwashed into voting for a third option, which happens to be the most expensive of all. Option 3 will continue to utilise the Town Hall for official meetings and other civic functions, but  most of the staff will move to Eastfield. Option 3 is a temporary measure. After SBC have waited a year or two, Council meetings and civic functions will be partially moved to Eastfield site, and eventually the St. Nicholas Street Town Hall site will no longer be used for any civic or democratic function. If your elected member is voting for Option 3, they are just as well voting for Option 2 as either choice will ensure that the Eastfield site will be utilised for Council meetings in the long term. If you want the Town Hall to continue to be used for civic and democratic functions in the long term, then you need to let your elected members know that you want them to vote for Option 1. Contact your elected members here.

Article first posted to Real Whitby on July 10 2012.

Share This:

Comments are closed.