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Shortfalls over Greenham Control Tower acknowledged

Parish council accepts better monitoring and greater transparency needed in new report

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Contact:

01635 886639

Future of iconic Greenham Control Tower is put in doubt

THE management shortfalls that have blighted the Greenham Control Tower project have been recognised by Greenham Parish Council in a new report.

The council acknowledged its failure to appoint qualified individuals to oversee the project, failures in the tendering processes and the need for a more robust approach to identifying conflicts of interest.

The above were just some of the points addressed in the report, which looks to put the project on a more secure footing ahead of its expected completion later this year.

Greenham Parish Council produced the document in response to a damning 2016 review of its management of the development, which will see the iconic Cold War control tower transformed into a café and visitor centre.

In the review, which was published in January 2016, accountant BDO listed 13 points for the council to address after a series of management errors forced back the project’s completion date and led to rising costs.

The council has now set out the measures it has put in place to correct the “project management shortfalls”, which have hindered the £720,000 scheme.

Greenham Parish Council clerk, David Fowler, said the council was happy to take on board the recommendations of the BDO review.

He said: “The response to the BDO report is just one of many important milestones that have been achieved over the last six months.”

The report, which was approved by full council, acknowledges the need to adopt a “more robust and cautious approach to project evaluation, monitoring and control” while the failure to “undergo a rigorous tendering process in the early stages of the project” is also “well recognised”.

The council also notes the need to engage with all stakeholders is “vital”, as is “generating and maintaining public support for the project”.

BDO told the council a clearly defined schedule of works was needed and said significant decisions requiring large financial outlay should follow a formal process of consideration and evaluation.

The importance of transparency is also highlighted, with the council stating the control tower committee will only exclude the public and media from meetings where discussions are of a confidential nature.

The report states that any future contracts of more that £10,000 will be subject to an open tender process while a “full and comprehensive” business plan for the completed project has also been produced.

The council’s decision to manage the project in-house is also addressed, with the report stating: “The absence of qualified individuals in the first part of the construction project is recognised. The appointment of a project manager is designed to overcome many of the problems encountered.”

Following the report, Greenham Parish Council announced that property asset management company Place Partnership had been appointed to oversee the completion of the project.

Mr Fowler said: “As a key recommendation of the BDO report, Greenham Parish Council is looking to put behind it possible mistakes from the past and focus on getting this facility open to the local community. The appointment of a project manager is a major step in achieving this objective.”

He added: “It should be recognised that Greenham Parish Council has already taken a Grade II-listed building, which had been allowed to fall into a terrible state of repair, and saved it for future generations. The council now looks forward to completing the project and will be keeping local residents informed of exciting developments.”

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Article comments

  • Guide Dog

    22/06/2017 - 10:10

    Lib Dems busy sweeping away a scandal! Tell us all where the money went and name and shame those responsible.

    Reply

  • Justin S

    21/06/2017 - 10:10

    Should have left the place alone and just got a food van up there and charged them a few quid a day to sell tea and coffees. There is no way this is ever going to recoup the money wasted on a pointless tea room. I cant believe so much money has gone into this with people having to go without in other areas of our community.

    Reply

  • bruin the bear

    21/06/2017 - 09:09

    SCANDALOUS! Heads should roll.

    Reply

  • Ihavenonickname

    20/06/2017 - 21:09

    So, do we have an opening date yet? Who has declared an interest in running the venture? Are any of the large coffee franchised interested? Will the ordinary locals be priced out of using it on a regular basis? Finally, don't even think about charging to use the car park!

    Reply

    • Tommy

      21/06/2017 - 15:03

      They need a JCB up there first to clean up all the dog s h I t left by lazy dog walkers !!

      Reply

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