As many of you will recall, I made a promise to ensure this council gets the best value possible when buying services and goods with public money.
I always insist that we review plans and challenge pricing on all our projects.
This has been the case with the millions of pounds we are spending to enhance sea defences and make much-needed improvements to the Central Lower Promenade.
The scheme was approved in 2011 by the previous Administration but had to be halted after phase one because of regulations concerning nesting birds.
Following the demolition phase of the contract earlier this year the contractor submitted new plans for the next phase at a much higher price than originally estimated. I was concerned by this and instructed council officers to carry out a rigorous value for money test.
Following this, it was decided that the proposed price was unacceptable and we cancelled that contract.
An alternative design for this vitally important scheme has now been drawn up and I am confident it will save more than a million pounds of council taxpayers’ money.
I’m excited as these new plans will not only save money but also address some of the issues people had. I arranged two events in Whitely Bay last week to showcase the designs. I’m delighted to report they were very well attended and people gave some very positive and interesting feedback.