The refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls could end up costing Croydon’s Council Tax-payers £60million – or even more.
And there are fears within the town’s arts circles that BH Live, the events and management firm brought in by venue owners Croydon Council to run the centre, could even quit their agreement over their increasing dissatisfaction with the quality of the refurbishment work and finish.
The soaring costs were the shock revelation of last night’s meeting of the full council in the Town Hall chamber, where the Labour council leader Tony Newman – in a performance which was perhaps the very definition of kakistocracy – was unable to deny that the refurbishment on the Fairfield Halls had managed to reach double the original £30million budget for the works.
The Fairfield Halls arts centre was closed in June 2016 for what was supposed to be a two-year, £30million refurbishment project. A council report, presented in November 2016, listed three “lead officers” (most projects have but one council executive in charge), including the council’s £220,000 per year chief executive, Jo “We’re Not Stupid” Negrini.
To manage the project, the council put its in-house house-builders Brick by Brick in charge, a company with no track record in building homes, never mind extensive and complicated refurbishment projects on heritage buildings. It is a decision which could be costing Croydon residents for decades to come. Continue reading