I’m responding to Max Kerley’s letter (Times Talk, March 29) in which he claims I am “complacent” on the Market Hall regeneration project.
Complacent I never am. My colleagues and I have already spent many long and detailed hours on this project and we will continue to use our very best endeavours to see this important project through to completion.
We have secured £2m of external European and Lottery funding for the project and matched this with our own funds.
We’ve engaged expert external architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, who have worked on other successful market hall refurbishment schemes, to design and specify our scheme and accurately quantify the costs, and we have regularly revisited our calculations over recent months.
We’ve worked closely with our advisors and with our original preferred development partner to achieve the best price for the work.
In the end, the council’s position and Wates Construction’s position were just too far apart for us to proceed with their offer, which was very disappointing.
Far from being complacent, I have been involved in all of the above activities, and can assure that I have asked and will continue to ask the right questions of our staff, advisors and prospective development partners.
My responsibility now is to ensure that the council delivers this key project on budget and to the revised timescales. I am therefore pleased to advise that we have just invited six new companies to tender for the construction project.
I am also acutely aware of our responsibilities to the Market Hall tenants, who remain loyal and patient through what I accept is a difficult period of change for them.
We will continue working with them to address their concerns. Meanwhile, I wish to make clear on their behalf that the Market Hall remains open for business.