Author Topic: English Heritage's damning criticisms of SBC  (Read 2478 times)

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Offline Drone

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English Heritage's damning criticisms of SBC
« on: April 11, 2011, 10:56:08 AM »
Reposted from the other Mechanics thread, but worthy of separate consideration. This would be why we aren't getting the money back from English Heritage. It should also make getting EH involved with any future heritage project rather tricky. Well done, SBC!

A DAMNING judgment of the council’s handling of the Mechanics’ Institute has been laid down by English Heritage.

The organisation has written a letter in which it criticises the council for not undertaking the right repair work and worsening the damage to the building.

In a letter to council chief executive Gavin Jones, regional director Andrew Vines says the council’s handling of the emergency repair work “raises very serious questions” about the council’s competence to handle the repairs.

As reported on Friday, Swindon Council could be left footing a bill of £1.2m for repairing the crumbling 19th-century institute, because owner Mathew Singh has so far shown no interest in paying the bill and English Heritage has withdrawn a grant of more than £200,000 towards the work.

Its letter reads: “The council did not continue to employ the specialist team that planned, specified and priced the works in detail through to the inspection of the works in progress.

“Changes were made to the agreed Schedule (of works) of 28 September 2009 and then implemented by a different professional team which in our opinion, did not have the necessary specialist conservation knowledge, ability and experience, and which we believe resulted in the loss of a very large amount of historically significant fabric.

“The council’s recent actions raise very serious questions for us over the damage caused to the historic structure, the skills and experience of your team and the working relationship between us.”

It says, in short, that the council ignored its advice, did not stick to the agreed programme of repairs, didn’t put the contract for the work out for tender, and carried it out under the wrong piece of law, effectively invalidating its £211,040 grant.

Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms) said: “How can we work to an agreed schedule when the building is falling down our neck?

“I’ve nothing but praise for the officers and technicians involved in saving the building and preventing it from falling into a mound of rubble.

“One has to take decisions when unforeseen circumstances arise. We acted exceptionally quickly, otherwise the building would have collapsed. I’d like to see a report saying where a brick was damaged where it wouldn’t have been if the building had fallen into the ground. It’s wrong to start complaining about damage. If the building had collapsed there wouldn’t have been anything to save.”

derp derp herp herp derp