Cash row over skate park work

A TOWN S skate park trustees and Mid Beds District Council (MBDC) are on a collision course over who pays an unpaid building bill. Biggleswade Skate Park and Three Style Association is facing a cash crisis after contractors demanded £17,000 it claims rema

A TOWN'S skate park trustees and Mid Beds District Council (MBDC) are on a collision course over who pays an unpaid building bill.

Biggleswade Skate Park and Three Style Association is facing a cash crisis after contractors demanded £17,000 it claims remains outstanding on the building work.

Now the park's trustees say MBDC should cough up the cash saying it promised to meet all the extra costs the contractor is asking for.

The skate park, opened in 2006, was built at a cost of £215,809 and to pay for it the association raised £224,731 including £34,390 in grants from MBDC, plus a further £3,533 to assist in obtaining charitable status.

Biggleswade mayor Peter Vickers, who is a trustee, said: "We believe MBDC is responsible for the additional funding and we will challenge them on who should pay this extra money.

"They promised to compensate us for the additional costs. We believe we are not liable for the relocation costs and we are hopeful there will be an amicable solution to this problem."

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Trustee Ken Lynch, who was the project co-ordinator and is an MBDC councillor, also says the council should pick up the bill.

He claims the siting of the acoustic wall had to be changed to accommodate the extension of Saxon Pool which is where the extra cost has arisen.

Cllr Lynch said MBDC promised to meet the additional cost and that is supported in a letter shown to The Comet this week sent to him by the council and signed by their senior estates surveyor Stephen Clarke.

Mr Clarke wrote on August 7, 2001: "I am writing to confirm that the council has agreed to meet the additional costs of relocating the skate park to the new location."

Now Cllr Lynch is says MBDC is reneging on the deal saying: "They have broken their promise and causing us all this anxiety and putting a facility a lot of children enjoy at risk."

MBDC says it is not responsible for the bill and said in a statement: "Whilst it is extremely regrettable that the association find themselves in this position, MBDC has lived up to all its commitments and is continuing to ensure the skate park is available for young people in Biggleswade to use.

"The association's own accounts show they should have had a surplus of £9,000 and at least sufficient funds to have met all the costs.

"The council has given the association all the grants promised to it and we cannot explain where this funding gap has come from, nor why it cannot be met from the funds the association has raised. This is for them to explain.

"The council took over the management of the skate park in April, 2007, to ensure its continued use by young people in Biggleswade. We now pay the insurance costs of the site, inspect it weekly and maintain it where necessary.

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