Anger as £13,500 blunder sees new carpets ripped out of £4million centre

The new Centre for Independent Living in Burbank Street.
The new Centre for Independent Living in Burbank Street.
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Council chiefs have come under fire for a blunder which saw carpets in a new £4million building have to be ripped up and relaid at a cost of £13,500.

A number of floor coverings in the new Centre for Independent Living were said to be “unsuitable for people with dementia and autism.”

Councillor David Riddle.

Councillor David Riddle.

The new building, in Burbank Street, for disabled people and the wider community is due to open soon after three years of planning.

The additional expense comes as the authority is faced with a £20.8 million gross deficit over the next three years.

The council says the carpets will be used in other buildings and in bringing empty homes back into use.

Opposition councillors said it is another example of the council wasting money.

Independent Councillor Paul Thompson said: “I’m gobsmacked at the squandering of taxpayers’ money in the same way we have seen repeatedly by this administration.

“We have unnecessary flagpoles in front of the civic centre, unnecessary planters around the war memorial and huge amounts of cash spent on new Christmas lights at the same time Hartlepool is making savage cuts to its frontline services.”

UKIP group leader Coun John Tennant said: “It’s another classic case of council waste.”

Coun David Riddle of Putting Hartlepool First said: “My understanding is the carpets which were initially fitted were perfectly sufficient to meet the needs of people with autism and dementia. For this to be exposed in the same time frame people are being made aware their council tax is going up again is a disgrace.”

A council spokesman said: “Unfortunately, some carpets and floor coverings in the new building were unsuitable – including for the dementia and autism friendly environment that we are looking to create – and are now being removed.

“The carpets are to be temporarily placed into storage and the intention is to use most of them in other Hartlepool Council buildings within areas in need of replacement. They will also be used as part of our Empty Homes Scheme which brings derelict properties back into use for local people.

“We are now very much looking forward to the opening of the new Hartlepool Centre for Independent Living which will bring a range of service providers together under one roof and provide the very best services for people with disabilities and the local community.”