North West Wales

Conwy council pays £400,000 rent for unused building

Mochdre Commerce Park
Image caption There are concerns the building's floor may not be strong enough to house a high number of heavy vehicles

Almost £400,000 has been spent by a council on renting a building it has yet to use.

In a bid to save money, Conwy council signed a deal to base all gritters and bin lorries at Mochdre Commerce Park rather than use nine locations.

However when fitting it out, it found the floor was not strong enough.

Between February 2017 and June, the council paid £391,500 in rent but the landlord has now agreed to stop charging until issues are resolved.

Jane Richardson, from the council, said the move was aimed at making services "more effective and efficient".

It therefore signed the 35-year agreement to bring all its environmental services together at one depot, with the amount it paid in rent revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Image caption Conwy council wants to base all its waste and gritting lorries at a site at the Mochdre Commerce Park

"Given its location close to the A55, the site at Mochdre would enable us to better serve and access all parts of the county, particularly during key periods such as winter," Ms Richardson said.

"However, as we moved to the fit-out stage, issues were identified which meant immediate occupation of the building was not possible for our use."

Officers raised concerns that the floor might not be strong enough to withstand regular continuous use by heavy vehicles.

The council is now looking at ways to improve the building while an external review is looking into how it signed a lease on a site that was not suitable.

It said the situation was made more complicated because the landlord sold it after signing the lease, while cabinet members who approved the deal left office following May 2017 elections.

Ms Richardson said all parties were working together to find "a positive solution" and allow the council to move its vehicles in.

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