Councillors’ concerns at cemetery extension cost increases | News

Monday, 7 January 2019

– Politics

by Liz BradfieldGEM Local Democracy Reporter

The cost of funding two cemetery extensions in Bridgend county borough has risen by an extra £170,000.

The initial estimate for the extensions to Porthcawl and North Cornelly cemeteries was £360,000 but the total cost has now increased to £530,000 following “further investigation and feasibility works”.

At a full council meeting in December some councillors voiced concerns over the rise.

Cllr Ken Watts (independent) described it as a “major error” and called for further scrutiny.

He said: “Here we have a 50 per cent increase in the costs.

“I know it’s small figures out of the £211m [total capital programme from 2018 to 2028] but I think a 50 per cent error is worthy of scrutiny.”

Cllr Matthew Voisey (Conservative) said: “I’d really like to know who’s doing these estimates.

“You employ professionals to do these costs, it’s a lot of money.”

Officers said the funding allocation in the capital programme was often not a budget and sometimes the amount was based on historic estimates due to the long-term planning of the programme.

Communities director Mark Shephard said: “The estimates don’t always have the level of feasibility which makes the costs more accurate.

“In this particular case we commissioned Capita to look at the two cemeteries we are planning to extend. They found a range of environmental issues which are now required and design issues that are necessary to secure planning – all of which add up to a significant increase in overall cost.”

He told councillors a lot of the funding for feasibility only became available once the project was in the capital programme.

He said: “In every council I know of there are always variations in the capital programme of this sort of extent – this is not unusual.”

Councillors approved the additional funding at a full council meeting on December 19.

Liz Bradfield

Local democracy reporter

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