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Dudley Council to receive £4 million revamp despite council tax increase

By Thomas Parkes | Dudley | News | Published:

A total of £4 million will be spent refurbishing Dudley Council's offices despite a council tax increase, it has been revealed.

Dudley Council

Proposals have been put forward by the ruling Conservatives in a bid to address the Priory Road site's long-standing maintenance needs.

But opposition leader Councillor Qadar Zada blasted the move, calling it a "ludicrous waste of money".

It comes amid an increase of 3.99 per cent for council tax in the borough, roughly 80p a week for the average household.

A report said the funding would be used to "safeguard" the Grade II-listed building, with essential works to the roofs, heating and power – along with a refurbishment to offices and toilets – taking place.

Other upgrades will include the council chamber's microphone system replaced.

Councillor Zada said: "We are not in support of a Conservative palace to be built in the centre of Dudley.

"Instead we want investment in our frontline services.

"Whilst we acknowledge some improvements need to be made, we don’t need to spend £4m on one building.

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"The Conservative administration is proposing a ludicrous waste of money.

"It sounds like the leadership will have a plush office paid for by tax payers from where they can decide how to slash services further to pay for their comfort."

But Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said Councillor Zada's comments were "childish" – insisting the refurbishment is needed.

Councillor Harley said: "The refurbishment is needed. For instance the roof above the town hall is in need of replacement.

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"The building is a Grade II-listed building so any maintenance is bound to come at a hefty price.

"Staff are also expected to work in comfortable surroundings that are not draughty, windows falling out and a heating system that has seen better days.

"Councillor Zada's comments are childish and perhaps reflect his inmaturity in this role as a senior member of the Labour Group

"However I'm grateful to him to allow me another opportunity to promote the best budget settlement Dudley has seen in a decade."

The budget will be set at a full council meeting at Dudley Council on March 2.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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