Taking photographs inside gentlemen’s lavatories can lead to some unwanted outcomes, so in the past week Inside Croydon has gone to great, and most discreet, lengths to bring to you the first picture from inside the toilets of the council’s new offices of the tap which has cost Council Tax-payers £272.69.
And here it is.
Not gold-plated, as you might expect from the extravagant price.
Nor particularly remarkable-looking, either.
But just the latest instance of how the costs of Fisher’s Folly continue to mount.
On top of the £140million that Croydon’s Tory-run council borrowed to pay for the build, which opened only last October, and the £3.96 million spent on furnishing the place with lovely, no-expense-spared new desks and filing cabinets, there is also the £410.46 for the umbrella wrapper (yes, seriously), and the £272.69 tap.
Except it is not just one tap that needs replacing, but as many as 36 which were fitted as part of the original design brief.
In her official answer (to question CQ167-14) at last week’s council meeting, Sara “Book Token” Bashford, the £43,339 part-time Conservative council cabinet member, was more than a little misleading when she wrote that, “Based on user feedback there is a replacement tap in BWH”, referring to Bernard Weatherill House.
“The cost to fit and supply a replacement tap is £272.69,” Bashford wrote.
This was deliberately written to imply that there was just a single, perhaps faulty, tap.
In fact, within less than six months of the council office building opening, all of the taps at every sink in every toilet in Fisher’s Folly seem likely to need to be replaced.
The ones originally fitted by the council’s builders were simply not fit for purpose.
That was the “user feedback” to which Bashford referred, as council staff who had the misfortune to try to use the sinks in the new offices ended up with an embarrassing wet patch on their clothes.
Posh automatic sensor taps had been fitted as part of the new build. Trouble was, the spouts on these taps were so short that they did not reach out over the ostentatiously large sinks. Whenever triggered into action and they started to run, the water cascaded not into the sink but over the edge and on to the washbasin work surface.
There are three sinks in each of the gents’ toilets. Being a delicate sort, Inside Croydon’s intrepid reporter has not ventured into the ladies’. We’ll assume that they have three sinks, too. On each floor. There are 12 floors.
So, 12 x 6 x £272.69 … that’s a total of £19,633.68 likely to be spent on new taps if Bashford’s figures are reliable. And all within six months of the building being opened.
Bashford claimed last Monday that the ill-fitting tap “will be retained and reutilised”, though councillors have reported seeing taps dumped in skips near the Cost A Mint Walk location of the Fisher’s Folly offices.
Croydon Council. Where “Efficiency is in our DNA”, according to interim CEO Nathan Elvery, the man who opens a £140 million office building that has taps that don’t manage to pour water into the sink beneath them.
As ever, it is Council Tax-payers’ money that ends up being poured down the drain.
Coming to Croydon
- LNK Apprenticeship Week launch, Mar 7
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- David Lean Cinema: Basically Johnny Moped, Mar 27-28
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- David Lean Cinema: 12 Years a Slave, Apr 3
- David Lean Cinema: The Great Beauty, Apr 10
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
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