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£2m spent on Telford council HQ which may never be used

South Shropshire | News | Published:

ALMOST £2 MILLION has been spent on civic offices in Telford which may never be used as council headquarters, it was claimed today.

ALMOST £2 MILLION has been spent on civic offices in Telford which may never be used as council headquarters, it was claimed today.

The incoming Labour administration for Telford & Wrekin Council made the claims after last week vowing it would not use the offices and would instead rent them out.

The offices were planned to be a new base for the authority as part of the £250 million Southwater development.

Today Labour hit out at the project and said too much cash had been spent on it without a brick being laid.

Councillor Bill McClements, who will be cabinet member for resources in the new administration, said: "The people of Telford and Wrekin spoke loud and clear last Thursday and gave the Labour Party a resounding mandate to carry out our manifesto commitment to stop the proposed new council offices at Southwater.

"The Southwater developers have made clear that the scheme is not dependant on the council moving its offices to the site — despite the previous administration saying otherwise - and spending nearly £2 million without laying a brick.

"We continue to support the development. My first job is to get a clear picture of the financial position of the council and in particular to look into the massive capital debt the previous administration was planning."

Labour gained 17 seats to hold 33 of the 54 and return to power in Telford and Wrekin following last week's local election, and within minutes called for an end to the civic offices proposal.

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Former leader of the council Andrew Eade today defended the new council offices project.

He said: "Labour tried to do exactly the same thing in the past and wasted £1.2 million. We tried to come to an agreement to develop the town centre. We succeeded where they failed.

"The expense is all part and parcel of costs of the Southwater development, a scheme which could create 2,000 jobs."

New council leader Kuldip Singh Sahota has vowed to rent out the building currently earmarked for the new council offices when they are built and says, if it is possible, the council would look outside the town centre for headquarters.

By Paul Mannion

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