Newhaven tram extension just got £120,000 more expensive. Did it really have to? – John McLellan
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A report to a special finance committee last week said the company, Murrayfield-based Anturas which has worked on the project since its inception, was needed to “maintain assurance until completion of the project”, which sounds convenient.
“The project is currently in its testing and commissioning phase when input to safety assurance is at its maximum in order that the system can be brought safely into operational service,” it added, which sounds more justifiable. Except if safety problems are discovered, then £120k is unlikely to cover it.
However, the meeting heard the contract extension is actually so the firm will be available to help officers prepare a report to “close off” the project once the line is open, currently scheduled for June 21. By most measures, £120k to help with a paper others are writing sounds like nice work, but why this wasn’t included in the existing agreement wasn’t clear.
Nor was it explained why officers who’ve spent as long on the project as Anturas can’t produce the report themselves without spending more public money. And an explanation of how the figure was reached ─ it was apparently based on their rates, according to an officer who seemed almost indignant to be asked ─ was so vague as to be virtually meaningless. But then, what’s £121,495 out of a budget of £207m between friends?