Medway Council agree to hand over six-figure sum to Arriva
by Jenni Horn
Councillors have agreed to hand
over a six-figure sum to buy back Chatham’s Pentagon bus
Medway Council approved the deal with
Arriva, thought to be worth £300,000, at a behind closed doors
meeting last night (Thursday).
The new bus depot in Globe Lane is due
to open in October, following months of delays.
Arriva owns a 42-year lease on the
Pentagon site, which expires in March 2018.
It is thought the company, which runs
almost all of Medway’s bus services, asked for the six-figure sum
from the council for the lease and other costs of the move.
An emergency council meeting was
called to discuss the agreement but neither the press nor the
public were allowed to attend.
The Medway Labour party challenged the
ban but their request to open up the meeting was refused.
Despite opposition from Labour and
independent members, the council agreed to hand over the money.
Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con), cabinet
member for finance, said the confidential deal was the culmination
of long-running negotiations with Arriva.
He added: "Arriva originally wanted
substantially more but after entering into a dialogue with them we
have agreed a much lower figure.
"The money will be taken out of the
council’s reserves. The reserves are intended to be used for
projects such as this. Obviously I would rather the money had been
used on something else but it is after all the council’s
responsibility to provide services and the new bus station will be
an important service to the people who will use it."
Medway Labour group said the whole bus
station project had been poorly managed by the Conservatives.
Labour spokesman Cllr Vince Maple
said: "The deal is another failing in a list of many failings. It
is a bad deal."
Last month The Medway
Messenger exclusively revealed the bus station and surrounding
roadworks are £1 million over-budget.
The new facility was due to open this
spring, but now the opening date has been set as Monday, October
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