Essex

Basildon Council's £7,500 doormat 'a waste of money'

Cllr Kerry Smith with the carpet Image copyright Basildon Echo
Image caption Councillor Kerry Smith has criticised spending £7,500 on the doormat

A council's £7,500 spend on a new doormat for its office entrance has been branded "a waste of money".

Basildon Council bought the 8ft by 6ft mat for the staff entrance and said it was a health and safety measure.

However, independent councillor Kerry Smith said: "No-one wants a meeting about a doormat but you do want a meeting about £7,500 being wasted."

One resident added: "How they can justify spending £7,500 on a doormat is just beyond me."

A spokeswoman for Basildon Council said it was "committed to ensuring the safety of its employees and other users of the building".

The resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "I just think it's absolutely outrageous and somebody needs to look into it.

"When public funding is as low as it is and we've got increasing amounts of homeless people living on the streets, this just seems ludicrous."

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Basildon Council said it bought the doormat as a health and safety measure

Mr Smith described the mat as "bland" and said the main entrance used by the public has a smaller mat, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

He added: "The present administration has doubled the amount of service committees for oversight but that kind of spending has not been discussed. Why would it not have gone to the relevant committee before going ahead?"

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A council spokeswoman said that after a safety inspection last year "sunken recessed matting was recommended, which would have required significant work".

"Basildon Council opted for surface fixed matting as a safe and viable alternative, substantially reducing the total cost of the project," she added.

"Tile etching and other solutions have previously been used in an attempt to reduce slips, but these only act as a temporary measure therefore generating additional future costs."

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