LETTER: Repair costs for street ‘revamp’

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Residents will remember that over a two-week period at the end of August 2015 workmen had to sand off the varnish from all the wooden benches and wooden plant boxes and wooden trimmed waste bins in West Street, Horsham.

The varnish has peeled off the benches and plant boxes after little more than 18months from installation.

The West Street ‘revamp’ was unveiled by the then deputy leader of Horsham District Council, Mrs Croft, in November 2013 who personally oversaw this vanity project.

Through a Freedom of Information Act (FoI) request HDC has revealed how much this waste on West Street has cost the taxpayer. And this is in addition to the £40,000 for the bamboo that was once in the wooden plant boxes.

The FoI reveals that the costs of installing the wooden benches (including installation) was £2,367 per bench and the small waste bins that keep overflowing cost £1,340.97 each (of which there are six bins).

The wooden plant boxes cost £1,1130 for each box! And 18 were bought costing £20,034!

Of course shoppers using West Street will well remember that there was attractive and hardwearing cast iron waste bins and benches that sat harmoniously in the street scene along with hanging baskets until they were all removed by November 2013 and replaced with these lightweight wooden benches and plant boxes and tiny metal and wood trimmed bins.

HDC reports that the cost last autumn of sanding down the plant boxes cost the taxpayer £150 for each of the 18 plant boxes. That is a total of £2,700. Re-varnishing the double benches costs £500 thus totalling £1,000 for the two double benches.

And there are six waste bins with wood trim that needed re-varnishing at £150 per bin meaning that cost £900.

So the total costs of re-varnishing the wooden street furniture after just 18months use was £4,600.

And this is maintenance that is now going to have to be done ever 12 to 18 months that simply wasn’t there with the street furniture that was there before and is still in place in the Carfax.

The council has paid for street furniture less durable and far less attractive than what was there before.

This could only happen under Cllr Ray Dawe’s leadership of the council. And now he and his cabinet cabal propose to increase the council tax and parking charges to pay for all this waste, not just on West Street, but on expensive consultants for a new IT system.

VALERIE WISE

Owlscastle Close, Horsham

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