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Watford Borough Council to pay BDP £438,198
9:55am Friday 14th September 2012 in News
Consultants overseeing the redevelopment of Watford town centre stand to pocket almost £500,000 in fees for the project.
BDP, which has been contracted by Watford Borough Council to deliver the £4.3m regeneration scheme, is due to be paid £438,198, the Watford Observer can reveal.
The figure has been criticised by opposition politicians who have described it as “unbelievable”.
Councillor Nigel Bell , the leader of the Labour group, said: “It seems unbelievable that it should be that amount of money. What else could you spend £400,000 on, let alone £4m?
“I think residents would be shocked.”
However, the town’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill defended the figure saying BDP’s fee was around 10 per cent of the overall budget for the project, which is the average industry rate.
She also said the redevelopment of the town was crucial to improving Watford’s economic health and not letting the town centre slide into dereliction.
The Liberal Democrat said: “We have not got the expertise to do this and we are paying, as long as it is not above the industry rate.
“The top of town is a serious issue. It is about the future of the town and changing people’s behaviour.”
The mayor added she felt it was important to improve the town centre and said residents had responded well to the plans in a recent public consultation.
She said: “We have had a good response. We could just let the town centre become derelict, you don’t have to go far from Watford to see derelict town centres.”
BDP won the contract to undertake The Parade development in January 2010.
The project will see the area from Rickmansworth Road to the flyover revamped with new street furniture, a bridge over the pond and new greenery.
Watford Borough Council ’s ruling cabinet is set to make their final decision over the design on Monday, following a public consultation on the plans over the last few months.
Figures seen by the Watford Observer showed BDP’s successful bid to the council for The Parade development.
Among the BDP employees working on the project are staff and consultants with daily rates of up to £787.
This week Watford Borough Council confirmed the company’s costs for the project were £438,198.
A spokesman for the council said: “BDP are part of the team the council has employed to improve the top of town. Hiring specialist teams to carry out these large scale projects is the most cost-efficient way of doing it. “This project is being paid for with capital money (which legally has to be spent on assets) not from council taxpayers. “BDP won the bid back in January 2010 after an open, transparent and competitive tender process – they have successfully delivered similar projects across the UK and in Europe. “The council has a great track record with big schemes like this, such as the rebuilding of our two leisure centres, and the refurbishment of the Colosseum – both completed successfully using external specialist teams.”
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