Frustration at ‘dilly-dallying’ as precinct revamp delayed

PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 October 2018

Portishead Precinct.

Portishead Precinct.

Archant

Work to revamp Portishead’s tired precinct and create a fitting ‘gateway’ to the town centre has been delayed by ‘dilly-dallying’, according to ‘dismayed’ councillors.

The paving at the precinct is cracked and untidy, and North Somerset Council was ordered by London and Cambridge (L&C), which owns the site, to complete a £100,000 refurbishment over the summer.

But to the frustration of Portishead Town Council, the project has fallen behind schedule and will not be completed until 2019.

North Somerset Council is responsible for maintenance of the precinct, despite not owning it, and L&C said it would commission the revamp itself and pass the bill to the authority if the project was not swiftly completed.

But at the town council’s recreation and works meeting on September 26, committee chairman Marilyn Koops, of West ward, reported North Somerset was unhappy with a quote it had received from a contractor which would take the project over budget. Consequently, North Somerset is looking elsewhere for a cheaper price – much to the disappointment of town councillors.

Vice chairman Lesley Cottrell said: “It doesn’t matter what cost the quote is, the council is obliged to do this.

“L&C has clearly said if North Somerset does not proceed it will do it and bill the council. It needs to get it sorted and get it done.”

Cllr Ros Cruse added she was ‘dismayed by North Somerset’s dilly-dallying’.

Upon announcing the project in March, North Somerset’s executive member for finance David Pasley – who also sits on the town council – said the precinct is a ‘very important gateway to the High Street’ and the upgrade ‘needs doing’.

At its meeting on October 10, the town council agreed to contact L&C and ask it to apply more pressure to North Somerset to accelerate the project.

Cllr Koops said: “It’s disappointing the first quote came in a lot higher than was expected by North Somerset, causing the delay. The town council will write to L&C voicing its dismay North Somerset is not meeting its obligation with regards to the precinct resurfacing and ask L&C to apply pressure to the council as its landlord.”

Cllr Pasley previously asked the town council to part-fund the works to help North Somerset Council, but his appeal was rejected.

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