Cllr Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council’s SNP administration, has confirmed that the local authority made a deduction of £12,362.93 from payments to private contractors after the games hall at St Matthew’s Academy was closed for over two months to allow major repairs to the walls of the building.
Cllr Gibson revealed the figure at
last week’s meeting of North Ayrshire Council in response to a question
lodged by Independent councillor John Hunter (Ardrossan & Arran).
However, the Council Leader also confirmed that K:A Leisure was due
compensation from NAC of just under £3,000 because the leisure company
had been unable to use the St Matthew’s campus while the games hall was
St Matthew’s Academy is just six years old and was built
as part of North Ayrshire Council’s controversial Schools PPP Project.
Within months of the school opening, a local builder told the3towns that
mortar in walls of the games hall was too soft. The experienced
construction professional predicted that breezeblocks in the walls would
move, over time. Last November the games hall was closed after large
cracks appeared in the walls.
Willie Gibson told John Hunter at
the Council meeting that the full cost of repairs had been met by
contractors. The PPP Project awarded contracts to private companies to
build and maintain four schools – St Matthew’s, Stanley Primary in
Ardrossan, Arran High School and Greenwood Academy in Dreghorn.
John Hunter and fellow Independent Ronnie McNicol (Saltcoats &
Stevenston) revealed that Labour councillors in North Ayrshire’s
previous administration had pressed ahead with signing a £380m contract
despite the fact only one credible and viable bid had been submitted.
The one other bid came from a company with no filed accounts, no office,
no experience in building or maintaining schools and which had share
capital valued at just £2.00. At the time, Labour councillors insisted
the second bid had provided “genuine competition”. This was despite the
Council’s own external advisors stating that the second bid was
“materially non compliant”.