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Bonkers Blog January 2012

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25 January - Tesco is cheaper

Bexley Civic Centre refurbishment contract detailsWhen Bexley council debated their options for a new Civic Centre it wasn’t much reported that the council officers said the cheapest and “highly efficient” solution was to redevelop the existing site but as everyone now knows the vote went for refurbishing the old Woolwich Building Society HQ at a cost of £36 million. The other alternative, a new building with a longer life in Erith for just over £40 million was given pretty short shrift. The advantage of the chosen arrangement is that it moves Tesco from a less than ideal shopping site to a more central position. Nice for Tesco and residents of Erith Road. What does Bexley council get? A second hand HQ not too far from the centre of town and if you believe what they said last April, a saving of £1 million pounds a year. They’d get better returns from paying off their debts.

Some insight into the high cost of refurbishing the Woolwich building was provided when council officers said a new one to their precise requirements would cost around 15% more, something the News Shopper rather mischievously reported to be “short-sighted” given the latter’s much longer projected life. Now that detailed planning for refurbishment of the Woolwich and the new Tesco is well underway, further insights into the costs are coming to light. Bexley council is going to spend £36 million on their second hand HQ, Tesco is planning on knocking down the old Civic Centre, digging a big hole in the ground for a 520 space car park, putting three storeys of shop and storage on top (more than twice the size of the new town hall) and landscaping a new plaza for only £30 million. Compared to tarting up an old building it sounds like Tesco know how to be careful with their money and get the best of any bargain.

 

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