NEWBURY town Council will spend more than £7,000 on a new vinyl flooring for the town hall council chamber and a commemorative bench in the Market Place.
The sound-deadening flooring will set the council back £6,000, while the bench, which will be installed outside the town hall to mark the council’s 20th anniversary, will cost £1,050.
Members of the civic pride, arts and leisure committee voted in favour of both proposals at a meeting in the council chamber on Monday evening.
The meeting heard how the chamber’s existing carpet was in desperate need of replacement, with councillors considering three options – a direct carpet replacement costing £3,300, carpet tiles costing £3,600 or the vinyl flooring.
Councillors opted for the most expensive, easy-to-clean option – arguing that the new flooring for the chamber, which is rented out to the public for wedding services and other events, would eventually ‘pay for itself’.
Speaking at the meeting, the council’s community services manager, Granville Taylor, explained that cleaning up spillages from coffee mornings and other events costs “a lot of money throughout the year”.
“I did try to drive them down, but they did insist they were doing me a deal,” he told councillors.
“The benefit of this product, the vinyl, is there’s a sound-deadening quality and that’s where the costs are incurred.”
Miles Evans (Con, Victoria) said: “There are cheaper options, but with this product we are given a 35-year warranty.
“In the long run it pays for itself compared to the other options.”
Chairing the meeting, Margo Payne (Con, Clay Hill), said choosing the cheaper options would be a ‘false economy’.
She added: “This room is used by the public more and more, renting it out for wedding services and events, so it’s going to be seen by the citizens of Newbury.”
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the vinyl option.
Earlier in the meeting, members had also agreed to spend £1,050 on a new bench to mark the council’s 20th year.
The council was formed in 1997 to take on parish responsibilities after Newbury District Council was replaced by West Berkshire District Council.
Kuldip Singh Kang (Con, Falkland) explained the bench would be installed next to the existing bench outside the town hall.
He told the committee that it would be funded via a £3,000 underspend from previous years.
Mrs Payne said: “I think it would be very nice and I believe there’s going to be a plaque on there too.
“It will enhance that little area and be much enjoyed by the citizens of Newbury.”
Earlier this month, Newbury Town Council announced it was also spending £6,000 to install a new CCTV system in Victoria Park in order to reduce anti-social behaviour.
The camera will cost £400 a year in maintenance costs, however, the figure is less than that spent annually in clearing up vandalism, according to Mr Taylor.