Tees

Probe ordered into £1.6m overspend on Kirkleatham Walled Garden

Artist's impression Image copyright Redcar and Cleveland Council
Image caption Building work on the Plantation Road development began last year

A probe has been launched into how a council is being forced to shell out an extra £1.6m on a walled garden.

The budget for Kirkleatham Walled Garden - which will include a 350-seat pavilion - was set for £8.2m.

But a cabinet meeting of Redcar and Cleveland heard that the project had gone "massively" over budget.

Independent leader of the council, Mary Lanigan, said she was "appalled" but that the shortfall had to be met. The cabinet approved paying the overspend.

Councillor Lanigan said she had ordered an investigation into the mishandling of the project.

Building work on the Plantation Road development began last year.

When completed it will also include the garden, a restaurant, shop, training facilities and a 300-space car park.

'No choice'

Ms Lanigan said: "I know Cabinet were quite shocked when this overspend came though, however, we are where we are.

"It is necessary to move this forward - we have no choice. That £1.6m was earmarked for somewhere else in the borough.

"We're going to have to juggle some figures here in order to pay this overspend that we've got.

"I am shocked and appalled - this is a big chunk of taxpayers' money."

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Lanigan confirmed that projects in Guisborough and Saltburn could suffer as a result of funding being redirected to the Kirkleatham project.

Construction work on the project is expected to be completed in December, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Redcar and Cleveland Council said the walled garden expected to open in Spring 2020.

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