New Welwyn Hatfield council chamber under fire

PUBLISHED: 11:57 03 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2016

Welwyn Hatfield Council has unveiled a design for a new council chamber Image courtesy of the council

Welwyn Hatfield Council has unveiled a design for a new council chamber Image courtesy of the council

Archant

Council chiefs are dithering over how to equip and decorate their expensive new meeting chamber, according to critics.

The Conservative-controlled borough council’s new main chamber in its Campus East base is due for completion in early May, but opposition politicians have claimed officials have not even decided what colour the carpet should be.

Hatfield’s Labour town council leader Lenny Brandon said: “They have had two meetings about carpets, and two about furniture, and they still have not decided either.”

Councillor Caron Juggins, who sits as an independent on both authorities, added: “The chairs are hugely expensive.

“They are going to spend something like £12,000 on 48 chairs.”

The project has a budget of £712,000, including decoration and furniture, but a borough council spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times it was too early to estimate the final overall cost.

She added: “The council chamber build started at the beginning of January and should be completed in early May.

“It is the final part of the jigsaw of office accommodation changes which have allowed us to free up space in Campus West for enhanced leisure provision and then vacate Bridge Road East and make savings overall on accommodation.

“It will be the first purpose-built council chamber for the borough and will help make council meetings more accessible for the public.

“It will be fully accessible to those with restricted mobility, and there will be wifi, viewing screens and the ability to adapt it for other uses – including training.

“A cross-party member group oversees the project. These meetings have included discussion on the procurement method, presentations from contractors to award contracts, and the discussion and selection of samples for carpets, signage and furniture. The group have also monitored progress on the project.

“Final choices on some furniture have yet to be made so we don’t yet know the exact cost.”

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