Hyndburn Council flushes £100K down the pan

August 03, 2012 4:51 PM

How much does it cost to spend a penny? For council taxpayers in Hyndburn, Lancashire, the figure comes in at £18.38, after bungling bureaucrats entered the council into a long term contract with the makers of the Universal SuperLoo.

The self-cleaning convenience in Accrington town centre has only been used 1,520 times in the last year. At 20p a go, the council received £304 in income. The annual rent is £28,245. To make matters worse, the council is tied into a contract until 2023.

Now councillors have had enough, and have decided to terminate the contract, as at this rate council taxpayers would be out of pocket to the tune of over £300K. The costs for giving 12 months notice, paying an early termination fee, and having the toilet removed will be around £100K.

One person commenting on the Lancashire Telegraph's website has done the maths the council should have done before it entered into such a ridiculous contract. For the council to break even, the toilet would have to be used 386 times a day. That's an average use of once every 3.7 minutes!

Leader of the Opposition, Peter Britcliffe said: “There’s been some awful bad management of this issue. The contract shouldn’t be so expensive to get out of and now tax payers have to pick up the tab - not to spend a penny.”

Hyndburn is a council serving a population of just over 80,000. £100K can easily mean the difference between having and not having a Council Tax rise. Whilst Cllr Britcliffe is obviously correct in his comments, will any heads roll for such a blunder? I doubt it. Perhaps a promotion will be put on hold for a while, or someone leaves the authority with a large pay-out, but that will be all. Until decisions made by officers are truly accountable, expect similar stories like this one in the future.How much does it cost to spend a penny? For council taxpayers in Hyndburn, Lancashire, the figure comes in at £18.38, after bungling bureaucrats entered the council into a long term contract with the makers of the Universal SuperLoo.

The self-cleaning convenience in Accrington town centre has only been used 1,520 times in the last year. At 20p a go, the council received £304 in income. The annual rent is £28,245. To make matters worse, the council is tied into a contract until 2023.

Now councillors have had enough, and have decided to terminate the contract, as at this rate council taxpayers would be out of pocket to the tune of over £300K. The costs for giving 12 months notice, paying an early termination fee, and having the toilet removed will be around £100K.

One person commenting on the Lancashire Telegraph's website has done the maths the council should have done before it entered into such a ridiculous contract. For the council to break even, the toilet would have to be used 386 times a day. That's an average use of once every 3.7 minutes!

Leader of the Opposition, Peter Britcliffe said: “There’s been some awful bad management of this issue. The contract shouldn’t be so expensive to get out of and now tax payers have to pick up the tab - not to spend a penny.”

Hyndburn is a council serving a population of just over 80,000. £100K can easily mean the difference between having and not having a Council Tax rise. Whilst Cllr Britcliffe is obviously correct in his comments, will any heads roll for such a blunder? I doubt it. Perhaps a promotion will be put on hold for a while, or someone leaves the authority with a large pay-out, but that will be all. Until decisions made by officers are truly accountable, expect similar stories like this one in the future.

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