Corby councillors 'lost control' of Cube project

A leaked report into an estimated £12m overspend on Corby's Cube complex has alleged that the borough council lost control of the project.

A cross-party scrutiny review by the authority criticised the council board which ran the scheme.

Tom Beattie, who became leader of the Labour council in December and was not on the board, said he wanted future projects to be well managed.

The Cube houses council offices, a library, theatre and register office.

The report said the Cube board was "ineffective in controlling or giving direction to the project".

The architects, Hawkins Brown, were also criticised for "poorly executed" cost planning and for treating the council like a "cash cow". The company has denied both accusations.

Roger Hawkins, from the company, said: "We've always been very positive about the need to have control of the financial aspect of the project and I think the design team has done an excellent job with that.

"We have consistently given good advice to the council with whatever costs were emerging on the project."

Cost increased

In the report, it was also suggested that financial information was suppressed for political reasons until after the May 2011 council elections.

Mr Beattie said: "The evidence does not exist to support claims that information was suppressed.

"I am determined to make sure that as this council moves forward we put in place proper procedures for ensuring future projects are well managed."

The total cost of the building is thought to have been about £47.5m, according to the report.

The Scrutiny Review was chaired by the Labour councillor and former Mayor of Corby, Mary Butcher.

During the five-month review process, a number of individuals were interviewed, including councillors, council officers and businesses.

The final report was shown to all councillors but has not been made public despite calls by some councillors.

Corby Borough Council said it was given legal advice not to make the report public although an edited version could be released later.

The full Scrutiny Review has been sent to the district auditors office who will carry out its own investigation.

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