Published: 13:05, 16 September 2021
| Updated: 13:40, 16 September 2021
Town councillors have agreed to help meet the mounting cost of Dover's Market Square revamp.
Mayor Gordon Cowan argued that the higher bill was inevitable and the flagship scheme was still worth supporting.
Dover Town Council members last night (Wednesday) voted by a majority to give another £10,000 towards the project.
It has already paid £45,000.
Cllr Cowan told the full council meeting: "This started five years ago so I'm not surprised costs have gone up.
"Building materials have gone up and I am in the building trade. Costs will go up.
"Bit I think it is a benefit. This is our town and we need to support what goes on in our town."
Cllr Pam Brivio formally moved a vote to grant the money, saying the council had been provided a "shopping list" of items it was paying for.
A report by town council officers said that costs for work on the square could go up by about £500,000 if organisations involved do not contribute extra. The project is now costed at £3.57 million.
Dover Town Team, as a small organisation for businesses, has already said it cannot afford the £12,000 it has been asked for. It had previously contributed up to £10,000.
Project manager Dover District Council, which is asking those involved for the extra money, says delays caused by the pandemic have also contributed to the increase.
The meeting heard that the expense from an archaeological search of the area has also spiralled. Canterbury Archaeological Trust gave an estimate of £23,000 but is now likely to end up as £65,000.
Councillors were told that the figure of £115,000 in the officers' report is a worst case scenario.
The project has also changed from the original plan of an open piazza with a fountain similar to that in Folkestone Harbour.
Now £676,500 is allocated for tasks such as paving works, footways, traffic signs and road markings.
A soft landscaped area east of King Street is being created at a cost of £12,000 and trees in special shallow pits are estimated at £50,000.