South Ribble Council accused of failing to pay full amount for £265,000 refurb of Vernon Carus Sports Club
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SJJ Contracts, based in Widnes, was appointed by the local authority in January to carry out a major renovation of Vernon Carus Sports Club in Factory Lane, Penwortham.
But company director Andrew Charnock claims his firm was left shortchanged after the Council failed to pay him in full for the £265,000 transformation.
Mr Charnock spoke out after the refurbished sports club featured in the BBC One documentary, Freddie Flintoff's Field of Dreams, which aired its third and final episode on Tuesday night (July 19).
In the show, Vernon Carus Sports Club hosted Preston-born Andrew Flintoff and BBC film crews as the cricket legend visited South Ribble in a bid to get more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the sport.
But after Tuesday’s episode, Mr Charnock revealed that his firm was still waiting to receive full payment for work completed on the sports hub.
He said the work included a full rewiring and refurbishment of the clubhouse and changing rooms, with around 30 workers needed to get the job finished on time and ready for filming to take place.
The work was completed by the end of April but Mr Charnock said the Council still owe him around £26,000 three months later.
South Ribble Borough Council confirmed it has not yet paid the full amount owed, but said discussions have now taken place with Mr Charnock to try and resolve any dispute.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “On any building contract like this there will be some element of snagging and unfortunately this has been fairly significant and has taken longer than we and the contractor would have liked to get it resolved.
"We appreciate the effort the contractor has put in to get the work done to time and understand that the time pressures made the job more challenging but we have to be satisfied that everything has been resolved before paying the final amount as we are dealing with public money.
"We’ve been having dialogue with the contractor as recently as today and we’re confident we can get this sorted quickly now good progress has been made.”
Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams
For the past three weeks, BBC viewers have been kept entertained as Preston’s own Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff created a cricket team from scratch with a group of initially reluctant local teenagers.
In Tuesday’s final episode, Freddie had to galvanise his new cricket team to take on an elite private school, and what ensued was a finale full of laughs and tears.
On Tuesday, Freddie returned to Vernon-Carus Sports Club in Penwortham where he watched the final episode with the boys themselves.
He tweeted: “Watched “field of dreams” with the lads tonight they are amazing, Thanks for watching and supporting us.”
South Ribble Council Leader Paul Foster added: “We have been delighted to work closely with Freddie, Vernon's and the BBC in the production of this series, it has been an absolute joy to experience the brilliant outcomes for our local communities.
"Vernon Carus is now thriving along with the young people we reached out too and supported.”