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‘Exactly why did the Island welcome sign cost £6,000?’

By Gemma Constable

New Welcome to Sheppey sign

A councillor is continuing his fight to find out exactly how the cost of the new Welcome to Sheppey sign was made up.

Cllr Steve Worrall has repeatedly asked Swale council for a breakdown of the £6,343.66 which is what was paid for the greeting.

It was put up on the Island side of the A249 in July, after a campaign by Sheppey Tourism Alliance to replace the old one, which vanished when it was taken down in 2005 for work to start on the Sheppey Crossing.

The sign was paid for by grants of £2,000 each from Cllr Ken Pugh and Cllr Adrian Crowther from their Kent County Council highways fund and the rest came from Swale council.

Back in October, we reported how the mystery of why it cost what it did was likely to remain unanswered because the council’s invoice from Carillion, corrwhich was the contractor, would include costs for other work carried out by the company.

However, Cllr Worrall was determined to get to the bottom of how it could be so much money and raised the issue again at last Wednesday’s full council meeting.

He said: “After 11 weeks, I’m still left puzzled why I have had no response.

“Could it be there were no proper costings provided and that the figure was just plucked out of the air?

“Or maybe someone is too embarrassed to provide a breakdown of the costs.”

In response, Cllr Worrall was finally given more detailed information which explains where the money went but he says it is still unclear exactly how much the actual sign cost.

Information provided to Swale council by Carillion shows that to carry out design checks on the road network and to design the sign cost £452.25.

Traffic management to provide a safe working area, including some lane closures, cost £2,501.52.

To supply all necessary labour, plant, materials and supervision to excavate the sign bases, place concrete, insert sign post sockets and dispose of any waste was £2,131.27.

The final cost of £1,258.62 was from supplying labour, plant, materials and supervision to erect fibreglass posts and the sign face.

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