The cost of repairing damage caused to the Baileys Court cricket square by an “unexplained” incident involving weedkiller has risen by a further £3k, after Bradley Stoke Town Council agreed to fund additional “rectification works” over the winter months.
Damage to the cricket square first came to light last March, when staff noticed the grass was starting to die off, and experts brought in by the Council later confirmed that a “readily available” weedkiller was to blame.
Although there was no clear evidence to indicate whether the damage had resulted from vandalism or mismanagement by the company responsible for the ground’s maintenance, Councillors concluded that “on balance of probability, the original damage to the cricket wickets was contractor error”.
The Council terminated its contract with Classic Landscapes, the firm that had previously been in charge of maintenance, and introduced a new regime in which the work is shared between another sportsground maintenance company and Bradley Stoke Cricket Club, with the latter being paid £8/man hour with a ceiling of £2,600 for the period April to August.
However, last month’s meeting of BSTC’s Finance Committee was told that due to “extreme weather conditions and the continual rectification works”, maintenance of the square had to be extended into November 2012 and would also be required from January to March 2013, costing the taxpayer a further £2,912.
The amount is in addition to previous exceptional expenditure of around £15k, including £5,350 on emergency remedial works, the purchase of a heavy sit-on roller and a specialised mower at a one-off cost of £8,270 and a reduction of £1,520 in the rent to be charged to the cricket club for the 2013 season.
The Council has billed Classic Landscapes for the emergency remedial work carried out earlier this year but it is understood that payment has so far not been forthcoming.
Draft minutes of a confidential discussion at last month’s Finance Committee meeting (from which the public and press were excluded) state that Councillors “approved various instructions to solicitors” but added that “in light of the timing of legal letters and other confidential instructions, it is not appropriate for the information to be made public at this moment in time”.
Photo 1: Signs warn of hazardous chemicals on the cricket square (archive image).
Photo 2: Match in progress on the artificial wicket at Baileys Court during 2012.
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