Soapbox Michael Farmery: Who deserves credit for revamp of Council House?
NOW that the full story regarding the decision to refurbish Derby's Council House is emerging, serious questions need to be addressed to council leader Paul Bayliss and his colleagues.
They knew from earlier council meetings that parts of the building were becoming uninhabitable and action needed to be taken to protect members of the public, employees and, indeed, councillors.
The chief executive of the council has now confirmed refurbishment was the cheapest option, a fact which councillors will have discussed prior to a decision being taken.
Why then did Mr Bayliss and his supporters use the projected costs as a major election issue?
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Why did they try to portray the previous administration as spendthrift?
Would they have gone for a more expensive solution or continue until the Council House became unfit for purpose?
If the criticisms of the previous administration are reviewed, they can be seen to be no more than Labour spin. Within days of coming to power they abandoned their commitment to reverse the decision to build the velodrome, announcing that the money was already available and, far from pandering to an "elitist" sport, as their pre-election blurb suggested, have now agreed it would actually attract visitors and bring in additional revenue for the city and its businesses.
Again, they would have known all of that from earlier council meetings.
Perhaps we should all be concerned about what other pre-election promises are they now in the process of dumping?
Why did Mr Bayliss claim it was he who secured £40 million of Government money to create a technology park when the actual application was made by the previous administration?
Is he so short of good publicity he needs to steal other people's credit?
It will be interesting to hear the comments of Labour councillors on the success of the Council House refurbishment.
Will they now admit it will continue to save operating costs over the coming years as more and more unused council office space comes available for sale or rent by others?
Will they admit it has turned out to be a credit to the city and the vision of where it wants to be in the 21st century?
Have they the nerve to claim credit for that too?