Tuesday, 16 November 2010


My Birkdale Ward fellow councillor Simon Shaw, Chartered Accountant that he is, has been doing some financial ferreting.

You may well have thought that Sefton Council was cash-strapped.  But not, so Simon has highlighted, too cash-strapped to propose spending over £26,000 on 3 granite seats!

This mad-cap plan comes to you courtesy of the Conservative and Labour councillors on Sefton Council.

This week’s meeting of the Southport Area Committee is being asked to consider a package of “Public Art” proposals as part of the Southport Market redevelopment.

Regular readers of the Birkdale Blog will be aware of the enormous concerns Southport and Sefton Lib Dems have had about spending £3 million at the present time on the Southport Market redevelopment project.

Within the total spend there there is a £110,000 budget for new Gateway Features.  The Council is proposing to spend £41,700 on 2 “Bronze Gateway Markers”, £12,100 on “Inlayed Granite & Ceramic Motifs” and £26,400 on 3 “Granite Seats”.  A further £31,500 is due to be spent on Design, Delivery, Installation and “Community Engagement”.

Simon thinks that Conservative and Labour councillors on Sefton Council are now displaying “a complete lack of any grasp of economic reality.”

“If you take into account a share of the cost of Design, Installation and Delivery costs, you are talking about something over £30,000 for 3 granite seats.  It’s simply barmy!” comments Simon.

“Even in times of economic plenty, I would have serious doubts about spending such money.  But we are not in such times.  Sefton Council is talking about the possibility of up to 1000 employees losing their jobs as well as cutting services on a large scale.”

“It is therefore both unjustifiable and grossly insensitive for some local politicians to still be supporting a scheme that involves massive amounts of public money being spent on ‘fripperies’ such as granite seats.” 

“Liberal Democrats have warned repeatedly that this whole project is unaffordable, but Conservatives and Labour members of the Council have ploughed on regardless.  They are displaying a complete lack of any grasp of economic reality on this matter.”

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