Conservatives Slam Labour's "Re-Consultation" for Acton
But Labour hit back saying claims are "total nonsense"
In March 2010, the previous Conservative administration pledged £12 million of capital funding to regenerate Acton Town Hall and provide modern facilities, including a new library, swimming pool and community spaces.
This capital funding was seen as crucial for delivering the regeneration of the Acton Town Hall and protecting its value as a heritage site and ensuring that the regeneration did not become a high-rise development.
Instead, according to the Conservative Group, one of the first acts of the new Labour administration in Ealing is to use a large part of this money to spend almost £1.7 million on external consultants and advisors, despite the fact that the work was previously commissioned under the Conservative administration.
Cllr Mark Reen says, “The previous Conservative administration has already done the hard work for this project. We know what the public want and have already spent the necessary money on consultations and advisors to ensure that the public's vision is delivered.
"It is therefore very disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, to see that one of the first acts of the new Labour administration is to agree to spend £1.6million on consultants and advisors, rather than getting on with delivering the project.
"There is no indication of what new benefit this additional £1.6million is going to provide and in any event, there comes a time when you actually have to stop spending on consultants and start spending on bricks and mortar.
"It is clear that the new Labour administration in Ealing appears to have learned nothing from the waste and profligacy of the previous Labour government.”
In response leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell said, "Cllr Reen and the Tories are talking total nonsense. This project, it is true was begun under the previous Tory administration and £12m was set aside in March of this year to complete it, but no work whatsoever was done prior to them being thrown out of office on May 6th. The only work they had done was inadequately consult on a scheme to knock down residents’ homes on the South Acton estate that everyone knew was a non-starter as a location for the new swimming pool and community facilities, and wasted a lot of Council Tax Payers money in the process. Perhaps a reason why we now have no Tory Councillors in Acton?
"Since coming into office the Labour administration has discovered urgent repairs need to be made to Acton Town Hall and the swimming baths in order for them to continue in use and has allocated the necessary funds from the £12m. Are the Tories suggesting that we don’t keep the Town Hall and the Baths open while we work towards building the new facilities?
"The £1.6m that the Tories accuse us of allocating to consultants and advisors is in fact the original sum they set aside for such payments in their budget plans. To suggest otherwise is a lie. When embarking on a multi-million pound project such as this it is vital that it is professionally delivered to the highest standards, on time and within budget. Architects, surveyors and yes consultants will have to be engaged to achieve this. We are however very mindful of the harsh economic times we are in so will be looking for ways to reduce spending on this part of the budget but we are determined to deliver a quality community facility and regenerate Acton Town Hall. In the teeth of ideologically driven and unnecessary budget cuts from the Con Dem coalition government that are hitting the Council like a tornado this will be no mean achievement."
August 19, 2010