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Bonkers Blog August 2017

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Sidcup Place

11 August (Part 2) - Bexley Council’s lie of the day. Their latest attempt to rewrite history

Maybe BiB is being stalked - by Bexley Conservatives that is. Flattering, but it is only going to get them into trouble - for lying again.

Yesterday, Bonkers reminded its readers of Labour’s suggestion that the new Civic Centre should be built in Erith and a few hours later a similar report was posted on Bexley Conservative’s website. Possibly a coincidence.

BSAs usual it strays a long way from the truth. The Tories hope that everyone has short memories but the truth is always buried somewhere within Bonkers.

In 2011 there were three Civic Centre proposals on the table. To rebuild on the old Broadway site, an idea put forward by Council staff which they said “would provide a highly efficient purpose built Council office” for around £27 million. An obvious bargain.

The second was to refurbish the old Woolwich Building Society building at a cost of £36 million. The scheme which had captured the imagination of Council Leader O’Neill because she said it was “iconic”.


SavingsIn third position was a scheme for a totally new build in Walnut Tree Road, Erith which would be a no compromise town hall with a projected life span of 60 years. At £42 million it would cost £6 million more that the Woolwich refurbishment but that was expected to be good for no more than 40 years.

Given its location and the deal to be done with Tesco, Watling Street may well have been a reasonable choice although why nobody seriously went for the much cheaper option of rebuilding in Broadway never became clear.

The old Civic Offices were falling down and no one disputed the fact that something had to be done. The scheme that won through was backed by Bonkers as probably the best compromise. A site swap allowing Tesco to be close to the town centre would be much better than letting them build in Watling Street. Nevertheless, the longer life of a new build in Erith had obvious attractions.

Bexley Council justified the £36 million cost of the Watling Street refurbishment by claiming it would allow various Council outposts to be brought under the same roof and that would save a million pounds a year. Remember that figure.

As time went by and the refurbishment went over budget Bexley Council had to pull some new figures from the fib factory. Refurbishment costs had gone up to £42 million so Bexley Council invented a new savings figure of £1·5 million a year to compensate. They made no attempt to justify the claim but seemed to think that a nice brochure would convince everyone the figure must be correct. Several months later the fiction was repeated in the Bexley Magazine, (Autumn 2014.)
Poster
Yesterday’s claim is that the actual savings have been £2 million the truthfulness of which cannot be verified. They also say that this is double the original projection. Double £1·5 million is £2 million? Much more likely is that the 2014 brochure (above) was yet another lie just as was suspected at the time.
Web page

Click text above to read more

The Tories are irredeemably addicted to lying about the opposition party. Labour Councillors wanted to spend £42 million on a building that would have been good for 60 years rather than £36 million on a building that was a less than ideal conversion with a life of only 40 years. It was a perfectly reasonable position to take and in the event the Tories spent £42 million anyway.

Facts never suit the liars who run Bexley. They have just said this…
One big lie
For some reason known only to themselves, while pondering what to do in Bexley, Conservative Councillors were unnaturally interested in the civic offices being built in Newham at the same time. Newham was alleged to have spent £111 million on their new civic offices - and still levy a much lower Council Tax rate than Bexley.

Bexley’s Conservatives tried to link Bexley Labour Councillors to that extravagance. It made little sense but that is what they did. If you read all of the new Tory statement you will see that they are still going on about Newham spending £111 million on their town hall and claim that Bexley’s cost nothing. Their statement mysteriously refers to the Walnut Tree Road proposals costing only £25,000,000. I think that must be a mistake but it has been saved for posterity. (Click either extract above.)

Note: I had intended to quote from the Bexley Magazine in this blog to add further evidence of lying but Bexley Council has got the better of me. None are available on line any more, not even the Summer 2017 issue. The liars are going to extraordinary lengths to cover their tracks.
Later: Magazines dug out of my dusty stockpile! Image added.

 

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