DARTMOUTH Town Council could have to flush £6,500 down the pan after a firm employed to refurbish the Guildhall’s downstairs toilets went bust.
KBB kitchens and bathrooms of Lower Union Road, Kingsbridge, was due to start on a £21,000 project this week. But the firm has gone out of business without carrying out the work – and with the council’s money in its pocket.
Town clerk Tracy Rowe told Tuesday’s meeting of the town council’s corporate property committee that £6,500 had been paid up front to the firm for materials. She said efforts were being made to recover the money through the receivers.
Meanwhile, mayor Rob Lyon is recommending the work is carried out by various contractors in order to be completed as soon as possible.
But a special meeting of the full council may have to be held in August in order to officially take the project forward.
Cllr Richard Rendle highlighted the need to make sure all future tendering processes are carried out properly in order to protect the council.
He said the original contract had been ‘nodded through’ and was concerned that some money had been offered up front.
But he accepted the suggested way forward now was a ‘sensible compromise’ in order to get the work done.
Mrs Rowe said the council had similarly paid a percentage up front when it had the market units built and some councillors felt this was normal procedure.
Cllr Steve Smith said the council had gone with a reputable firm but had been left with ‘egg on its face’. ‘And it’s public money that may have to be written off,’ he said.
Cllr Tony Fyson said: ‘I don’t think anybody has been flippant. I think we have followed the rules but have been caught out.’
The Chronicle has been unable to contact KBB for a comment. The telephone line to the company’s Kingsbridge office was ‘temporarily out of order’ on Wednesday morning.
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