LYME Regis Town Council is having to scale back plans to redevelop the flat roof area in Lister Gardens, after the cost of the project came in at almost double the allocated budget.
Councillors have been discussing the need to resurface and develop the roof above SWIM, the Antiques & Craft Centre and Amusement Arcade on Marine Parade for several months.
The commercial units were constructed in the mid-1960s and almost no significant maintenance has been undertaken since, resulting in water leaking from the flat roof area.
Patch repairs have been carried out to alleviate this issue, but it was agreed that a more comprehensive and permanent solution was required.
Councillors initially set a budget of £332,000 for the project and later increased this to £400,000.
It was hoped that this would cover the cost of resurfacing the flat roof and development of the area, so it could be better used by the public and for events, including new feature railings with glass panelling, additional lighting, a new power supply and water points.
However, after going out to tender, the council only received two quotes for the work, the lowest of which was almost double the approved budget.
In a report to be considered by councillors at a meeting on Wednesday, September 4, deputy town clerk Mark Green said it was “absolutely clear that no amount of negotiation or value-engineering would bring the price within budget”.
The council’s architect Crickmay Stark has now been instructed to go back out to tender with a reduced scope of works. This will omit the feature railings and glass panelling along the roof frontage, as this element alone was priced at more than £200,000.
It is now intended to retain the existing railings and incorporate some means of preventing objects falling from the roof area onto the parade below, which was the main reasoning for the glass panelling.
However, in his report the deputy town clerk points out that retaining the existing railings may have some implications on the level of guarantee offered in connection with the new roofing materials.
The works will be priced on an individual ‘menu’ basis, with a primary focus on resurfacing and repairing the roof.
Other elements such as lighting, power points and removing the steps on the roof area to improve access will be considered individually but, in his report, Mr Green warned that once professional fees had been included, the council would probably not be able to afford all elements within its allocated budget.
The new tenders should be received by October 4 and it is still hoped that work can begin in early November. This was originally expected to take 20 weeks, but the reduced scope of works may cut this down, reducing impact on the tenants below.
Mr Green said council officers were in discussion with the tenants, who were anxious to better understand the impact the work would have on their businesses, but he said it was difficult to give precise information until the exact scope of works had been finalised following the return of tenders.