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Second contractor pulls out of Hyde Pool extension project
Monday 28th January 2019 @ 09:47 by Charlotte Green
Hyde News Tameside

Delayed plans to expand Hyde Pool have been sent back to the drawing board for a second time after the town hall’s newest contractor pulled out of the project citing Brexit and business uncertainty. 

It’s been revealed that the protracted process to build a new six lane swimming pool, changing rooms and spectator seating area at the Active Hyde facility has encountered another setback.

At an executive cabinet meeting this week councillors heard that the delays mean that the opening date for the pool extension on Walker Lane has been pushed back to October 2020.

Strategic Team Group (STG) were the second company selected to carry out the pool project by Tameside council after the initial contractor withdrew in the aftermath of the Carillion collapse.

However on December 13 – the day after executive cabinet had agreed to up the budget yet again by a further £280k – STG also decided not to proceed with the project.

Debbie Watson, interim assistant director of population health told councillors: “We have just had news over the tendering exercise that Strategic Team Group that were just about to start on the Hyde work withdrew from the contract, and took the difficult decision not to proceed.

“The organisation has been driven by issues around supply chain uncertainty, Brexit, competitive instability, which meant that they made the decision not to take on any new work for the next 12 months.

“So unfortunately we’re going to have to go back out to procurement for another contractor which will cause an estimated further delay of four to six months which will need to be considered in the management fee also.”

A council report states that the organisation had also declined two other housing projects worth ‘in excess of £5m’ in turnover.

Hyde Godley ward councillor, Joe Kitchen said: “I am very disappointed that yet again we’re having to go out to the tender process.

“That’s the second contractor that’s let us down, no fault of ourselves or the trust but unfortunately that’s the way the market is at the moment.”

The pool extension has been dogged by setbacks since being announced three years ago.

Work had been expected to begin last May, and the total bill is now estimated at £3.46m – up from the £2m the scheme had been originally expected to cost.

The first delay to the project to expand the facility stemmed from ‘technical issues’, after surveys discovered that the existing electrical and mechanical system could not be adapted to run the new pool.

Consequently in August 2017 the authority committed a further £1m to make sure it could progress.

The budget was topped up again after chiefs agreed to pay an extra £88,000 to the contractor, after they said they were ‘nervous’ about dealing with the Local Education Partnership (LEP) after the Carillion collapse.

Carillion then owned 80pc of the LEP, which was in charge of tendering the contract.

Despite the financial assurance, the builder pulled out of the pool revamp at the eleventh hour, on the day before they were due to sign on the dotted line.

The project was then ‘paused’ in the summer while the council examined their spending priorities for their capital programme.

However when the council agreed to press ahead with the project, costs then increased again because STG had submitted a more expensive bid than the preferred contractor.

Inflation also meant that the price of work, particularly ground-works, steel and brickwork labour, had also all gone up.

And there are additional fees from the LEP to get the scheme mobilised again.

Now bosses will once again have to try and bring in a new contractor to get ground broken.