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On Wed. 12th Dec 2012 District Councillors will Scrutinise the Beacon Park upgrade project

posted 8 Dec 2012, 08:31 by Andre Hefer   [ updated 15 Dec 2012, 09:32 ]

LATE UPDATE: What BSARA intends to say at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee

BSARA is pleased to announce that Lichfield District Councillors will be investigating the project to upgrade of Lichfield's Historic Parks, including Beacon Park. This meeting is open to the public. Details are as follows:
WEDNESDAY 12th DECEMBER 2012 at 6.00 p.m. in the COMMITTEE ROOM, District Council House.
Residents are hoping that the meeting will provide a proper explanation about why the parks were such a mess for so long, why the work dragged on for as long as it did and what has been done to prevent similar problems on future projects.  

Community groups including BSARA, The Lichfeld Civic Society and the Historic Parks Friends have been pressing for this investigation. Lichfield District Council Chief Executive, Nina Dawes, has published a report which is available on the Council's website. The community groups will be attending the meeting and will be presenting the views of the public.

Nina Dawes has already acknowledged that mistakes were made and lessons need to be learnt – refer to summary below. Once the scrutiny committee meeting has taken place, we will put a copy of the BSARA presentation and a summary of the meeting on this website.

“Lessons learnt” inquiry into Lottery Funded Heritage Parks upgrade – meetings with District Council CEO

Lichfield District Council Chief Executive Nina Dawes met with community representatives to consider any lessons to be learnt from the upgrade of our Parks. The meetings took place on 20/Dec/2011 and 26/Mar/2012 and involved the Park Friends (Ken Webb) the Lichfield Civic Society (John Thompson) and BSARA (Bob Smith & Andre Hefer).

Nina Dawes explained that negotiating a final settlement with the lead contractor (Casey) was proving to be a difficult and time consuming process. Despite this, Lichfield District Council wanted to capture the knowledge gained and move forward to address the new challenges, such as the Friary Outer development.

Nina Dawes thanked all those who had contributed, both within Lichfield District Council and from the community. Lichfield District Council has a genuine wish to address all significant points raised. She acknowledged that there are lessons to be learnt and that mistakes had been made. Looking forward the District Council could use the experience gained to ensure that future projects ran more smoothly.

Once final settlement with the lead contractor has been achieved1, a report would be submitted to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee. The District Council has already started applying some of the lessons leant, so operational changes have not been held up by the delayed publication of the report.

The Outer Friary project has benefited in a number of ways from changes that have been introduced:

  1. Clearer internal accountability and a more structured approach in decision making;
  2. A commitment to consult more widely regarding sensitive areas e.g. within the conservation zone;
  3. A commitment that the District Council will keep the public better informed;
  4. Within Lichfield District Council there would be a stronger emphasis on delivering results.
1 – 2012 Audited Report and Accounts, Note 6, Events After The Balance Sheet Date – "During the latter part of 2011/12 the Council was in negotiation with the Casey Group Ltd in relation to the level of the Final Account for works undertaken in the Heritage Parks. ….…… However, on 25th May 2012 the Council reached agreement with the Casey Group Ltd over the level of the Final Account ….……"