City Hall revamp - the latest on blame game

AN SNP Councillor has admitted that his party need to take some of the blame for the delays over the much-needed refurbishment of Brechin City Hall.

Kirriemuir and Dean Councillor Ian Gaul was asked is this the fault of the last SNP administration and answered: “Yes, we definitely have to take some of the blame.”

However, Councillor Gaul went on to point the finger at the present occupiers of the administration for removing the City Hall from the council’s capital plan in an effort to build new facilities elsewhere in Angus.

“The money was in the capital plan in 2006 and, after the election in 2007, the alliance decided they would review everything that was not legally committed.

“That included Brechin City Hall, the Kirriemuir Town Hall and Kirriemuir Library. They carried out part of the works to Kirriemuir Town Hall, they didn’t touch the library and they have obviously not done the Brechin City Hall.

“Prior to them being in power, it had already been agreed by the council.

“The council at the time included Councillors Myles and Leslie Melville and the sequence was to be the Reid Hall in Forfar, the Montrose Town Hall, Kirrie Town Hall and then Brechin City Hall.

“The Reid Hall was done, Montrose was done, then came the election.

“Kirriemuir was supposed to be done in 2007 but wasn’t and Brechin hadn’t even been looked at.

“There was a window of opportunity for the alliance to link Barrie’s 150th anniversary with the refurbishment of the Kirrie Town Hall and library, which are part of the same building and Brechin was meant to be done thereafter.”

Mr Gaul was asked, if he was in power, would he commit a couple of million pounds to the project if that’s what officers found was what was required.

Mr Gaul didn’t answer the question immediately.

However, he did say: “If we still had been in power the work would have been completed by now.

“It was in the pipeline and it was in the capital plan. Four years on since the last election, they have ruined the potential borrowing methods that councils use because they have thrown everything at a short-term fix on Montrose Swimming pool and an extension to the leisure centre

“The director of finance told them at the time, and time and time again, if they went ahead with this, there would be no potential borrowing for the capital plan for the foreseeable future.”

Councillor Gaul eventually got around to answering the question and said that if the SNP were in power they would commit up to £2 million on the project.

He continued: “Yes we would commit to it, but we wouldn’t put a time scale on it, because you can’t put a time scale on anything .

“The present administration has taken a capital plan and put everything into the swimming pool in Montrose, despite being told by officers that it would ruin any potential borrowing for capital projects for the foreseeable future.

“They were told that and they ignored it, taking Kirrie Library and Brechin City Hall off the list.”