Magherafelt leisure centre cost rose 125% from £4.1m to £9.2m

Greenvale Leisure Centre, Magherafelt.mm0809-160ar.

Greenvale Leisure Centre, Magherafelt.mm0809-160ar.

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An Audit Office report has singled out Magherafelt council for criticism, after the cost of the Leisure Centre refurbishment spiralled by an amazing 125 per cent.

Last-minute changes including the provision of a 50 metre swimming pool, alterations to changing facilities and the addition of two biomass boilers saw the original contract price of £4.1 million jump to £9.2million.

The auditors say this say did not represent value for money for ratepayers.

Louise Mason, the chief local government auditor said: Such changes would suggest that there were weaknesses in the original scoping and business case of the project.

“I found a lack of evidence that the procurement exercise was undertaken competitively and with independence.

“I also found that whilst two boilers were purchased and installed, it is economically advantageous for the council to operate only one boiler.”

The leisure centre, which opened in September last year, after a number of delays, boasted the first 50-metre swimming pool in Northern Ireland.

For council response see related article below.