Friday, 28 February 2014

Questions over 'inflated' repair costs

Questions are being asked over how North Ayrshire Council reached a figure for renovation works at the ‘high flats’ in Saltcoats.

In April 2008, the then Labour-run local authority contacted residents of Lambie Court and O’Connor Court, indicating there was a need for essential works to the fabric of the buildings and that each of the property-owners in the blocks would have to pay £29,790 as their contribution to the overall cost.

By November 2010, the3towns reported that the Council had revised the figure and that each of the property-owners in the blocks were told they would have to pay around £16,000. Some months later, following the intervention of Saltcoats & Stevenston Independent councillor Ronnie McNicol and a further ‘competitive market test’ carried out by the Council, the bill to owner-occupiers again fell dramatically to £8,830, excluding VAT.

However, in response to a question from Cllr McNicol at last week’s meeting of North Ayrshire Council, the local authority’s SNP administration, which replaced Labour in 2012, confirmed that the total cost to each resident of the ‘high flats’ would be just £708.63, inclusive of VAT – a reduction of more than £29,000 from the original figure.

The two blocks of flats received new cladding and windows in July 2012. North Ayrshire Council still owns 60 of the flats at O’Connor Court and Lambie Court, while 34 have been sold and are now in the hands of individual private owners.

Speaking to the3towns, Ronnie McNicol said, “The very high figures originally quoted caused real worry and concern for owner-occupiers in the flats. I sought and received an assurance from the administration that nothing like this will happen again.”

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