Monday, February 14, 2011

Leicester City Council has already spent £150,000 on the Aylestone Meadows site

This blog has been covering the opposition to Leicester City Council's plans to build build build all-weather sports pitches and an accompanying car park and pavilion on the Aylestone Meadows nature reserve.

Friday's Leicester Mercury carried the news that, though a decision on the development has yet to be taken, the council has already spent £150,000 on the site:
More than £68,000 was paid to a private firm to carry out investigative works, looking at the ground which would house the development.

The design of the site and architectural expertise cost more than £55,000 and about £25,700 was spent on two ecology surveys. The rest is made up of planning application fees and internal costs.
The Mercury quotes an unnamed independent Leicester consultant as saying that the figures seem above industry standard.

Meanwhile, the Labour cabinet member for culture and leisure, displaying the charmlessness that has characterised his handling of the affair says: "The costs have come from the alleged ecological issue at the proposed site."

Does this expenditure show that the decision is a foregone conclusion?

Maybe. But it is also a reminder of the silly money thrown at public projects under the last government. The Mercury explains that the Aylestone development is:
part of an £11 million city-wide sports development at 12 locations ... About £5.25 million of the funding for the project came from the Football Foundation and Sport England, but the rest came from local clubs and other sponsors – with £3.5 million coming from the city taxpayer and £2 million from NHS Leicester.

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