June 14, 2022 8:12 am

Yeovil has made the national news because the council is scaling back on it's development of the town centre due to rising costs.

The project called Yeovil refresh was started by South Somerset District Council to make improvements to the town centre including the appearance and accessibility of it.

However, the construction firm in charge of the project, Midas entered administration in February.

In order to keep the project on budget the council has had to reduce the scope of the works.  Originally set at a budget of £10.3m, an additional £1.7m had to be added because of the high inflation affecting material and labour prices.

To prevent further cost overruns the council has now deceided to pause works due on Wyndham Street as a part of this project.

Councillor Peter Gubbins is quoted as saying "There has been, and still is, a significant rise in costs and, in particular, building products, which has compounded on the delivery of the scheme.

"By agreeing to alter the scope, it will enable us to complete all stages of the Yeovil Refresh except Wyndham Street in budget.

"We are pausing the planned works, we are not abandoning Wyndham Street."

However, this work is currently on stop until further notice with £769,000 saved and reallocated to other costs on this project.

The council is looking to use funds from it's corporate reserves or housing development fund to complete the project but that decision won't reach the committee until August.

Of the original £10.3m, £9.75m was funded by government grant so despite some questionable sizeable spends by the council before it moves to become a unitary authority, this one does have a lot of merit in terms of value per pound.

However, local services are still stretched and in need of more funding, with inflation as high as it is, is it the right time to be investing in a facelift for the town centre when social housing stock and other more pressing items are so low?

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