A Tory bid to force an urgent re-think over the cost of repairing Preston Bus Station failed following assurances the building is not about to fall down “anytime soon.”
A move by five Conservative members at County Hall to call the scheme in for more discussion was thrown out after an officer told the scrutiny committee there was no evidence of major structural flaws.
The Tory quintet complained the ruling Labour group was planning to spending between £6m and £8m less than was needed to bring the terminus and multi-storey car park up to a safe standard.
But Steve Browne, the authority’s environment chief, told the meeting: “There is no indication this building is going to fall down soon. But, if something isn’t done at some time, we will reach a point where it will almost be past the point of no return. That isn’t soon.”
He added the work, which was purely “catch-up maintennance,” was designed to give the building at least another 25 years of working life.
Tory leader Geoff Driver voiced the concerns that the money allocated would not be enough to make it safe, especially as it would also house the city’s youth zone.
He said: “We are not asking the cabinet to reconsider doing it (repairing the bus station). But if we are going to do it we want to make sure it is done right.” He claimed the allocated cash was “at least £6m and probably nearer £8m light” of what experts had said needed spending.
Council leader Jennifer Mein explained: “The bus station and car park will be brought up to spec. It will be a fit-for-purpose modern bus station and the car park will be accesible and safe.” She accused Coun Driver of “making a political statement that just doesn’t wash.”