Wednesday, 24 July 2013

"Cost of Work on Centre Wouldn't be Millions"

YEP Letters: July 24

Published on the 24 July

Like many of us who have fought to save the West Park Centre, I was disgusted by Coun Lewis’s letter of July 2 – both in what I felt was its disingenuous, misleading content and its glib, patronising tone.

If Coun Lewis wishes to talk about facts, perhaps we should start with the “millions” of pounds he claims would be needed to keep the centre open to accommodate the users (2,000 of them per week – another fact) who have been displaced. In 2009, an extremely detailed survey of the building was carried out by Leeds City Council which found that a comprehensive modernisation and refurb of the building would cost £2.2m.
The cost of the necessary works to keep the building safe and operational? A far more modest £199k. Meanwhile, Grafton Learning Centre in Little London has just had very similar works done at a cost of less than £60k!
The figures used to support the disgraceful decision to close the centre were produced this year, at LCC Asset Management’s request, by a “design consultancy” called Arup – not a construction firm, not a firm of electricians, not a firm of gas/water fitters.
The ludicrous figure of £4.2 million to refurbish the building is not a quote – it is a wild estimate (including costings for work that has already been done) from a firm whose previous projects include the Gherkin, the HS1 rail link, the London Eye, Angel of the North and Sydney Opera House. Not one real quote has been obtained for work on West Park since its closure last year, and Arup’s reports have meanwhile cost the taxpayers of Leeds around £8,000. Shame on Coun Lewis, shame on those who prevaricated for years on the building’s fate, and shame on the barbarians in Leeds City Council Asset Management who have so casually run down and destroyed one of the city’s biggest assets.
Name and address supplied

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