New Forest District Council takes a rather minimalist approach towards provision of new facilities.
By and large, the ruling Conservative group aren’t interested in providing anything “new”.
If anything, they have a strategy of removing themselves from responsibilities.
The decision not to run the Visitor Information Service at Lyndhurst and close 80 mini-recycling Centres are just two examples of the Tories deciding to reduce what the Council actually does.
I have just been reviewing the success, or otherwise, of things that NFDC has supported in the last couple of years.
In June 2016, they made the odd decision, not just to invest in replacement beach huts, but upgrade them to a “gold standard”.
Depending on how you interpret the figures, this cost the tax payer an additional £861,000, or up to £1.2 million.
In April this year, delays in getting the project to upgrade the Eling Tide Mill & Learning Centre underway led to vastly increased costs, much of which has cost the Heritage Lottery and Town Council a lot more money, but NFDC had to agree an additional £33,618.
It probably comes as no surprise then that the ruling Tory group are now proposing to agree an extra £162,300 on top of the estimated costs of a revamp of Ringwood Health & Leisure Centre.
Time and time again, projects managed by NFDC are delivered late and at a cost far in excess of the original estimates.
I would like to propose a Task & Finish Group to examine all such projects and see what lessons can be learnt.
There are probably some common themes.
As I often used to say, when in business, “Delay costs money”.
You can learn from failures, providing you are willing to do so.
Unfortunately, the ruling Tory group are least likely to listen to my pleas to review their practices.
Any criticism or exposing of their actual performance does not fit with their own self-image of financial competence.
It’s easier to carry on in a state of denial than to face up to reality.
Personally, I wouldn’t trust them to run a bath, let alone a Council.