Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Taxpayers could have to pick up a bill of more than £750,000 to fix two award-winning buildings in Norwich which were found to be flawed.
Council bosses are in talks with contractors behind Norwich Bus Station and St Andrews multi-storey car park over who should cover the cost of repairs.
And if the negotiations are not settled in favour of the local authorities, taxpayers could have to pay up to £770,000 for repairs to buildings which are not even a decade old.
The Surrey Street bus station and the car park, off Duke Street, both opened in 2005 but have been beset with problems.
The £5.3m bus station, which belongs to Norfolk County Council, was closed for a week from Sunday so that repairs could finally be carried out to fix a long-standing problem with its roof.
Hailed as a state-of-the-art landmark when it opened, the bus station replaced its run-down predecessor and, with its distinctive steel canopy, won the SCALA Civic Building of the Year Award 2006.
But in June last year, water poured through the roof into the main building containing the ticket office, café and toilets.
The ticket office building had to shut for more than a month because of the leaky roof and the whole bus station had to close for a day to enable the short-term repairs to be carried out.
On Sunday it shut for a week so a more permanent repair can be done, but the county council is still locked in talks over who should pay for those repairs.
A county council spokesman said: “The cost of the roof repair is £220,000. The county council is underwriting this cost to allow the repairs to go ahead and bring the bus station back up to its former self.
“We cannot provide any further details whilst negotiations are still on-going with other parties involved. An improved annual maintenance regime has been put in place to prevent a recurrence of the problem in the future.”
The bus station was designed by NPS Property Consultants, an “arms-length” company of the county council, with Bluestone the principal contractor.
And Norwich City Council is involved in its own negotiations over who should pay for repairs to the £9.3m St Andrews Car Park, which opened in June 2005.
Just like their counterparts at County Hall, city council officers are in talks with contractors over who is responsible.
And, in the city council’s budget, a contingency fund of £550,000 was last night set aside to cover repairs to the car park if the negotiations do not favour the council.
A city council spokeswoman said: “As any responsible property owner would, we must have money set aside in our budgets as a contingency to cover costs of repairs or maintenance.
“In the case of St Andrews, specifically, we will continue our negotiations with the parties involved to reach a solution.”