Calls for probe into ‘spiralling’ costs of Welshpool library conversion

Calls have been made for a full investigation into why the costs of converting the town’s former library into office space has spiralled by nearly 50 per cent.

Graham Breeze
Graham Breeze

The council has agreed to the “virement” that will see the extra money moved from other property and maintenance budgets to the library conversion.

Welshpool county councillor Graham Breeze, who represents the Llanerchyddol ward where the former library building is situated, and a member of the council cabinet with responsibilities for corporate governance and engagement, says there needs to be a probe into why the £175,000 costs had rocketed to £265,000.

“The virement report from officers, published this week, tells nothing of the reasons and the people of Welshpool and Powys need to know how estimates can be so far off track,” he said.

“If the answer is that the scheme has changed then we need to know why and if it is simply that officers have got their figures seriously wrong then questions need to be asked and answered.”


Councillor Breeze is asking for a full report, on the reasons why “costs have spiralled out of control”, to be brought to cabinet.

Project manager Gareth Richards said: “This virement is required to complete the former Welshpool Library conversion to a new front facing office building replacing Neuadd Maldwyn as the front facing office for Welshpool.

"The project is key to providing agile office space for the north of Powys. An initial budget of £175,000 has been found to be substantially inadequate for the project. A total budget of £265,000 is required to complete and furnish the new office.”

Councillor Breeze said to fund the project in Welshpool, £50,000 is to be taken away from the refurbishment of the Park office in Newtown. The report adds that the park office refurbishment has now been downgraded.

The other £40,000 comes from savings found in other projects including £9,960 from the County Hall Lift at the county council’s headquarters in Llandrindod Wells, and £12,600 from the Neuadd Brycheiniog guttering schemes.

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