HAZARDOUS waste and design tweaks caused the £4.5m Maidenhead Station forecourt revamp works to go over budget.

In October 2021, Theresa May MP, Royal Borough bosses, Great Western Rail Group, Volker Highways, and the local enterprise group officially opened the “smart entrance” to the town.

Royal Borough Observer: The forecourt opened last OctoberThe forecourt opened last October

Some of the upgrades included a newly paved plaza, secure bicycle storage, a more accessible bus layby on the A308, and more.

This is to make the forecourt more user-friendly and accessible for commuters, and to ensure the town is prepared for increased demand as a result of the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

However, within a finance update report presented to councillors sitting on the corporate overview and scrutiny panel, it reported the scheme went £500,000 above its original budget.

A council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that figure was “tentative” and following further detailed financial work, they estimate this budget variation to be £212,000.

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They said: “This is as a result of managing additional risks and issues that are often associated with significant infrastructure projects. This includes the need to remove and dispose of hazardous waste during the development, making adjustments to the design to accommodate existing services underground, and working in a way that ensured the station remained operational throughout the entirety of the improvement work.

“This variation must be seen within the context of the total project cost of £4.5m and the significant benefits the redevelopment has brought as part of the wider town centre regeneration programme.”

The overspend was accounted for in the highways capital programme, which itself is funded from a range of sources. This did not come from revenue expenditure, which council tax is used for day-to-day services and is separate from capital.

Maidenhead resident Andrew Hill asked about the £500,000 budget variation at the scrutiny panel on Wednesday, June 22, but an answer was not given due to an officer being on leave.

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He said: “This is around 0.05 per cent of our annual income and no one in the room knows whether we lost half a million [pounds] or whether another public body lost half a million [pounds] or why.

“Surely Cllr Hilton [lead member for finance] should’ve been fully briefed on that by officers. Surely this should have cropped up at internal meetings before today.

“My Grandma used to say ‘look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves’. But maybe you should look after the half millions, so the hundreds of millions take care of themselves.”