Another £1m bill for refurbishing Milton Keynes Council's offices is huge waste of cash, say Conservatives

The move comes two years after a £11m renovation of the building

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 3:30 pm

Labour and Lib Dems have come under fire for forking out another £1 million on doing up the civic offices,

Another £1m is to be spent on refurbishing the city centre building - just two years after it underwent £11m worth of renovations.

This week opposition Conservative councillors have accused the ruling Labour and Lib Dem Progressive Alliance of waste tax payers money.

The civic offices are at CMK

Tories were not happy with the previous refurbishment, which they say went £7m over budget. One of the criticised projects involved spending thousands putting reserved MOSS on some of the interior walls as a "small nod to MK's green spaces".

The new £1m plan comes at a time where households are being hit with a 3.75% council tax increase, meaning the average household will be paying a bumper £1,900 in council tax, say the Tories,

.They believe residents would prefer their money was spent on services, rather than another civic office refurbishment.

Conservative group leader Cllr Alex Walker said: “It’s only been two years since MK Council completed a renovation that went £7 million over budget and cost taxpayers over £11 million.

The previous refurbishment saw moss put on the walls inside MK Council's civic offices

"And now even with council tax increasing and services being cut, they’ve chosen to splash another million on doing-up Civic Offices. This is a poor use of taxpayer’s money.”

But council leader Pete Marland (Labour) said the extra spend was justified and the changes planned were "vital".

:He said: “The impact of Covid-19 has meant, like almost every business, the council has had to undertake some vital changes to our office space, such as providing the Coroners Court with a larger jury room, and remodelling the building for Covid times.

"Workplace changes will mean more people working from home and a further rationalisation of our property portfolio to save money. We will be closing remote buildings and relocating teams to CMK, such as moving our highways team from Bleak Hall.

"All this will save the council hundreds of thousands of pounds each yea2r but will have a small initial cost to provide new IT equipment suitable for remote working and some changes to the building to provide more workspaces.

He added: "The work was agreed by all three political groups leaders. Maybe Cllr Walker has election related amnesia?”