A failure to publish a doubling of the costs of Haverfordwest’s public transport project was not intended to be misleading, the council’s boss has said.

Speaking at today’s January 30 extraordinary meeting of the council’s Cabinet, Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive Will Bramble said doubling of the costs of Haverfordwest’s public transport project to nearly £18m was not fully communicated with the public.

The meeting was held after a ‘call-in’ on a previous Cabinet decision on the Stage 2 Construction of Haverfordwest Public Transport Interchange was backed last week.

The call to go back to Cabinet for further consideration, with a guarantee of external funding, was made at last week’s Service Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

It followed a previous Cabinet decision that the invitation and evaluation of tenders be approved, and the awarding of any contract be delegated to the director of Community Services.

At today’s January 30 extraordinary meeting, it was agreed that the previous Cabinet decision be amended, that the Cabinet approve the invitation to tender for the contract but that any tender only be approved after an additional report to cabinet, and that a full project update including forward planning and full costings is heard by Cabinet.

The recommendation, made by Cabinet member Rhys Sinnett, was approved unanimously.

Chief Executive Will Bramble told members later submissions had bumped the overall cost of the project from £8.6m reported earlier to £17.6m.

He said lessons had been learned after a failure to update publicly available figures on the project costs.

“What I can say is the [press] statement put out in 2021 was based on the very early costings. What is clear is once we had costed the work, we should’ve amended the press statement and what was on the website.

“We have now taken that figure off the website. It was not meant to be misleading, but clearly when we didn’t update these costs it became misleading.

“The other clear reflection is we need to be able to explain more completely the entire business case for these plans to Cabinet when we come forward on these bids.”

He later said: “It’s circa £18m when you add everything, but the totality of the costs has not been laid out in that manner, the case for a report to be brought to Cabinet laying that out; we’re still wating to hear from Welsh Government on the latest grant, we’re hoping to get confirmation on that at the The council is currently waiting to hear if Welsh Government funding for the latest phase is available, with an alternative option of funding through car parking revenue."

The following day, January 31, a statement from the council ammended that figure, saying: "The cost of the new interchange, including the demolition of the old structures, is currently estimated to be approximately £18.5m."


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