ABER BANDSTAND COST WILL STAY SECRET

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Cambrian News photographer

THE final cost for Aberystwyth’s bandstand will not be made public after the Information Commissioner ruled that providing the information could affect Ceredigion County Council’s ability to find contractors and hit the contractor’s ability to bid for contracts.

The Cambrian News reported “However, the authority has been ordered to confirm whether the scheme did run over budget and how any overspend was funded.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said the council had incorrectly used sections of the Freedom of Information Act to withhold that information.

Amid rumours that the cost of the bandstand scheme had spiralled with a dispute between the council and Pembrokeshire-based contractors W B Griffiths going to arbitration, the council refused to answer any questions about the cost of the scheme and instead treated a Cambrian News enquiry as an FOI request.

After the authority refused to provide information, claiming it was commercially sensitive and could not be provided, the Cambrian News appealed to the ICO in an attempt to discover the full cost of the scheme.

It was first estimated that the bandstand would cost £900,000. Then the council announced the actual contract had gone up to £1.2m. There were unconfirmed estimates that the actual figure was as much £1.5m.

The ICO has now ruled that the total cost of the scheme and any details about the settlement reached between the council and the contractor does not have to be made public as it could damage the council’s attempts to find contractors for schemes and could also make it more difficult for W B Griffiths to bid for council schemes” here.

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