Concern over £200,000 Castle Green overspend

Deane Council leaders Cllr John Williams, site foreman Rob Dunn and Project Taunton's Ian Franklin on the completed Castle Green bridge.

Deane Council leaders Cllr John Williams, site foreman Rob Dunn and Project Taunton's Ian Franklin on the completed Castle Green bridge.

First published in Somerset This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

PASSENGERS won’t be able to catch buses and taxis in Taunton’s Castle Green when virtually all traffic is shortly barred from the area.

But concerns have been expressed after the cost of converting the former car park zone into a public open space shot up by £200,000 more than original envisaged.

The remaining work inv-olves moving the taxi rank to Hammet Street and bus stops to the Old Municipal Buildings in Corporation Street, with the area becoming an access-only route.

Castle Way will be closed, and paving and landscaping will be extended up to the Mecca bingo building.

The taxi rank opposite the bus station will remain.

Most of the Castle Green scheme, including grass and paving areas, seating, landscaping and a bridge connecting to Goodland Gardens, was completed this autumn and opened by the Earl of Wessex.

It is staging several pre-Christmas events and the project should be completed before next summer.

A small number of defects and a ramp for disabled access to the grassed area should be corrected by Christmas.

Taunton Deane Council leader Cllr John Williams said: “This will be the final piece of what has been a very complex jigsaw puzzle which will truly complete the restoration of this historic square.

“I welcome it and the facility it offers for Taunton, and if the recent successful fun day and light switch-on ceremony are anything to go by our plans for a successful and vibrant town centre square were a reality.”

A report to next week’s full council says the £2.6million Government-funded scheme will end up £200,000 over budget due to delays because of the weather, archaeological excavations, delays relocating the bus stops and the cost of new bus shelters to ensure that they are in keeping with the conservation area where they will be sited.

Cllr Ian Morrell said: “A £200,000 overspend demonstrates poor management.

“As the focus for Taunton should be the creation of jobs and boosting the economy, it’s now time those who spearheaded this unnecessary project considered their position.”

Comments (15)

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10:39pm Mon 10 Dec 12

CosApp says...

Cllr Ian Morrell said: “A £200,000 overspend demonstrates poor management." - So who has been repremanded or retrained or sacked for the incompetence. No-one I would guess because the taxpayer will pick up the bill as usual along with the loss of revenue from the carpark that was dug up!
Cllr Ian Morrell said: “A £200,000 overspend demonstrates poor management." - So who has been repremanded or retrained or sacked for the incompetence. No-one I would guess because the taxpayer will pick up the bill as usual along with the loss of revenue from the carpark that was dug up! CosApp
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Mi_Coc says...

Unfortunately some architects are a law unto themselves and are not interested in budgets just want they like the look of. Most seem to be blind to the recession, working on some schools they come in make changes without a care of the ramifications. They see some nice lighting rafts that only cost another 20k but when you have mode all the m&e etc to suit the new layout the bill is more like 170k. Bang you have a 200k overspend.
Unfortunately some architects are a law unto themselves and are not interested in budgets just want they like the look of. Most seem to be blind to the recession, working on some schools they come in make changes without a care of the ramifications. They see some nice lighting rafts that only cost another 20k but when you have mode all the m&e etc to suit the new layout the bill is more like 170k. Bang you have a 200k overspend. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Dr Dave says...

Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton?
Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton? Dr Dave
  • Score: 0

7:57pm Tue 11 Dec 12

cliverita says...

And where will the bus station be moved to,???? because without pick up and drop off places, it is now in the wrong place. The disabled.can no longer use it We can't all afford taxis
Try taking suitcases to and from wherever the nearest available car park space may be, in the rain and cold.
And where will the bus station be moved to,???? because without pick up and drop off places, it is now in the wrong place. The disabled.can no longer use it We can't all afford taxis Try taking suitcases to and from wherever the nearest available car park space may be, in the rain and cold. cliverita
  • Score: 0

1:15am Wed 12 Dec 12

FreeSpeech? says...

cliverita wrote:
And where will the bus station be moved to,???? because without pick up and drop off places, it is now in the wrong place. The disabled.can no longer use it We can't all afford taxis
Try taking suitcases to and from wherever the nearest available car park space may be, in the rain and cold.
Thats what the civil service call advance planning.
[quote][p][bold]cliverita[/bold] wrote: And where will the bus station be moved to,???? because without pick up and drop off places, it is now in the wrong place. The disabled.can no longer use it We can't all afford taxis Try taking suitcases to and from wherever the nearest available car park space may be, in the rain and cold.[/p][/quote]Thats what the civil service call advance planning. FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

3:58pm Wed 12 Dec 12

topcataj says...

Dr Dave wrote:
Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton?
Hah, public or private sector, projects often go over budget, and they certainly don't always result in heads rolling in either sector.

Being more than 7% over budget shouldn't happen, but please don't try and say this only happens in the public sector.

If you looked into it, you might even find the overspend was caused by dodgy advice/estimates/pla
nning from private firms involved.
[quote][p][bold]Dr Dave[/bold] wrote: Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton?[/p][/quote]Hah, public or private sector, projects often go over budget, and they certainly don't always result in heads rolling in either sector. Being more than 7% over budget shouldn't happen, but please don't try and say this only happens in the public sector. If you looked into it, you might even find the overspend was caused by dodgy advice/estimates/pla nning from private firms involved. topcataj
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Wed 12 Dec 12

FreeSpeech? says...

topcataj wrote:
Dr Dave wrote:
Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton?
Hah, public or private sector, projects often go over budget, and they certainly don't always result in heads rolling in either sector.

Being more than 7% over budget shouldn't happen, but please don't try and say this only happens in the public sector.

If you looked into it, you might even find the overspend was caused by dodgy advice/estimates/pla

nning from private firms involved.
The Government didn't say to our glorious council"If you concrete over that car-park at the back of the Castle Hotel and think of other ways to waste money we will give you £2.6m" Oh no some dingbat had to come up with the idea and apply for the money, so please don't stick up for them as it was all their idea and as such they can take the credit/flack for it.
[quote][p][bold]topcataj[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr Dave[/bold] wrote: Amost unbelieveable - out in the real world a £200k overspend would result in heads rolling and P45's being dished out. Here, it is simply brushed under the carpet - "The taxpayers will pay". How much longer can these inpet muppets be allowed to cause havoc in and around Taunton?[/p][/quote]Hah, public or private sector, projects often go over budget, and they certainly don't always result in heads rolling in either sector. Being more than 7% over budget shouldn't happen, but please don't try and say this only happens in the public sector. If you looked into it, you might even find the overspend was caused by dodgy advice/estimates/pla nning from private firms involved.[/p][/quote]The Government didn't say to our glorious council"If you concrete over that car-park at the back of the Castle Hotel and think of other ways to waste money we will give you £2.6m" Oh no some dingbat had to come up with the idea and apply for the money, so please don't stick up for them as it was all their idea and as such they can take the credit/flack for it. FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Thu 13 Dec 12

topcataj says...

Which has absolutely nothing to do with being over budget...
Which has absolutely nothing to do with being over budget... topcataj
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Thu 13 Dec 12

FreeSpeech? says...

topcataj wrote:
Which has absolutely nothing to do with being over budget...
Well who planned it and applied for the grant? Who appointed the the contractors? Who takes the adulation when all goes well?
Well whoever it is let them take the flak for the overspend, and by your comments you sound like a public service pencil neck! Am I right?
[quote][p][bold]topcataj[/bold] wrote: Which has absolutely nothing to do with being over budget...[/p][/quote]Well who planned it and applied for the grant? Who appointed the the contractors? Who takes the adulation when all goes well? Well whoever it is let them take the flak for the overspend, and by your comments you sound like a public service pencil neck! Am I right? FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

10:40pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Jim F says...

Sounds bad but dont worry too much Taunton folk; as usual Phil Hill our ace reporter will have used his exagerometer and will have all the financial facts wrong
Sounds bad but dont worry too much Taunton folk; as usual Phil Hill our ace reporter will have used his exagerometer and will have all the financial facts wrong Jim F
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Fri 14 Dec 12

topcataj says...

Your 'democratically elected' district councillors probably pushed for the scheme to carried out. But they probably weren't concerned with the complications caused by all the services under the roads there and issues with making sure utilities companies could maintain their equipment etc...

At £2.6m the tendering would've had to jump through a number of hoops to stop members of the public accusing council officers of taking back handers to give the job to their mates.

Private firms carrying out work for the public sector certainly get some adulation for completing jobs, pretty sure in the last few days I saw the firm that did the work on the collapsed river wall in Bridgwater won a national award! Council probably just got moaned at for the time it's taken...

It's also quite possible that someone or some people from Taunton Deane are responsible for the overspend, but without looking into it, how can you know?

I guess it's just easier to attack people based on a newspaper headline rather than facts...

It's probably 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other. Which doesn't excuse TDBC but it doesn't place all the blame there either.
Your 'democratically elected' district councillors probably pushed for the scheme to carried out. But they probably weren't concerned with the complications caused by all the services under the roads there and issues with making sure utilities companies could maintain their equipment etc... At £2.6m the tendering would've had to jump through a number of hoops to stop members of the public accusing council officers of taking back handers to give the job to their mates. Private firms carrying out work for the public sector certainly get some adulation for completing jobs, pretty sure in the last few days I saw the firm that did the work on the collapsed river wall in Bridgwater won a national award! Council probably just got moaned at for the time it's taken... It's also quite possible that someone or some people from Taunton Deane are responsible for the overspend, but without looking into it, how can you know? I guess it's just easier to attack people based on a newspaper headline rather than facts... It's probably 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other. Which doesn't excuse TDBC but it doesn't place all the blame there either. topcataj
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Fri 14 Dec 12

Dr Dave says...

Sounds suspiciously like topcat was the main contractor for the Castle Green job! ;-)
Sounds suspiciously like topcat was the main contractor for the Castle Green job! ;-) Dr Dave
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Fri 14 Dec 12

FreeSpeech? says...

topcataj wrote:
Your 'democratically elected' district councillors probably pushed for the scheme to carried out. But they probably weren't concerned with the complications caused by all the services under the roads there and issues with making sure utilities companies could maintain their equipment etc...

At £2.6m the tendering would've had to jump through a number of hoops to stop members of the public accusing council officers of taking back handers to give the job to their mates.

Private firms carrying out work for the public sector certainly get some adulation for completing jobs, pretty sure in the last few days I saw the firm that did the work on the collapsed river wall in Bridgwater won a national award! Council probably just got moaned at for the time it's taken...

It's also quite possible that someone or some people from Taunton Deane are responsible for the overspend, but without looking into it, how can you know?

I guess it's just easier to attack people based on a newspaper headline rather than facts...

It's probably 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other. Which doesn't excuse TDBC but it doesn't place all the blame there either.
I do believe i seem to be pushing all the right buttons with you don't I?
[quote][p][bold]topcataj[/bold] wrote: Your 'democratically elected' district councillors probably pushed for the scheme to carried out. But they probably weren't concerned with the complications caused by all the services under the roads there and issues with making sure utilities companies could maintain their equipment etc... At £2.6m the tendering would've had to jump through a number of hoops to stop members of the public accusing council officers of taking back handers to give the job to their mates. Private firms carrying out work for the public sector certainly get some adulation for completing jobs, pretty sure in the last few days I saw the firm that did the work on the collapsed river wall in Bridgwater won a national award! Council probably just got moaned at for the time it's taken... It's also quite possible that someone or some people from Taunton Deane are responsible for the overspend, but without looking into it, how can you know? I guess it's just easier to attack people based on a newspaper headline rather than facts... It's probably 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other. Which doesn't excuse TDBC but it doesn't place all the blame there either.[/p][/quote]I do believe i seem to be pushing all the right buttons with you don't I? FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

7:13am Sat 15 Dec 12

FreeSpeech? says...

Dr Dave wrote:
Sounds suspiciously like topcat was the main contractor for the Castle Green job! ;-)
More like he's on the council as he sure knows how to spout the old guff.
[quote][p][bold]Dr Dave[/bold] wrote: Sounds suspiciously like topcat was the main contractor for the Castle Green job! ;-)[/p][/quote]More like he's on the council as he sure knows how to spout the old guff. FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Mon 17 Dec 12

topcataj says...

Just pointing out that people are quite happy to make short sighted comments with nothing to back them up. That's how councillors seem to go about making decisions, are you one of those?
Just pointing out that people are quite happy to make short sighted comments with nothing to back them up. That's how councillors seem to go about making decisions, are you one of those? topcataj
  • Score: 0

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