Posted: Fri 21st Jun 2024

Council not ‘spending hard earned ratepayers cash’ on Ty Pawb consultants – but UK Government cash instead

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

A Lead Councillor has incorrectly admonished Wrexham.com for publishing a story without full detail, however the council never published the information he thought was public in the first place.

At a media brief earlier this month Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member with responsibility for Tŷ Pawb, voiced his unhappiness and ‘took issue’ with the Wrexham.com article “Wrexham Council look to £40k consultants to help “Future Proof” loss making Ty Pawb” that had been published that morning.

The article substantially quoted information from an obscure procurement notice in the public domain, that had not been referenced anywhere else.

The noticed outlines a desire to create options to tackle Ty Pawb’s carbon footprint, as well as for the use of some of the parking spaces on its roof. It highlighted that part of the car park could be used for events such as film screenings, with a budget of up to £40,000 set aside to pay for the report.

At the media brief Cllr Jones explained how the project would see ‘community gain’, and contained a “Whole raft of stuff that is really very positive. We were very pleased, and we announced that we got this grant, and I think you actually went with that story that we got the grant.

“Then, it suddenly materialised is that we the council are spending this money in a period of financial difficulties. We were actually awarded this money in order for this project to be to take place. Therefore we need the appropriate degree of expertise in this field to enable us to produce the savings and solutions that we want in Ty Pawb both in terms of its energy consumption and in terms of its financial performance. The whole thing is grant aided.”

“So, to be honest, when I read the headline this morning, I thought, ‘yeah, that’s not fair’ because it gives the impression that we’re spending hard earned ratepayers cash, but actually, we’ve been successful in being awarded a grant, specifically for this project.”

Wrexham.com noted that regardless of if it was Council or Shared Prosperity Fund cash, it was all taxpayers money at the end of the day.

Cllr Jones replied, “This is not coming out of our cash strapped budget. It’s coming out of to SPF money that has been awarded. We were over the moon that we got this money”.

The £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which succeeds the old EU structural funds, is a UK Government funded scheme.

Where UK Government gets its cash from.

Where UK Government gets its cash from.

Wrexham.com was unable to find the story we had apparently run with of Ty Pawb getting the grant for that project. There were no statements, articles or similar about it either on the Ty Pawb ‘news’ page nor the council’s news pages. There has been no public reference that we could locate aside from the Sell2Wales notice the article was about.

We asked Wrexham Council for pointers or a copy of what we had missed. Nothing appears to have been found.

Fifteen days later Cllr Hugh Jones said, “The offer of the UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund received by Tŷ Pawb was in response to the recent Whole Systems Audit carried out on the facility.

“A tender to the value of £40k was subsequently placed on Sell2Wales which encompasses carbon reduction interventions across the building.

“The work is to connect development of the rooftop spaces with wider changes to the building for carbon purposes, this is to safeguard the future of Tŷ Pawb as a sustainable cultural hub.”

No further details of the project were released.

Wrexham.com has fed back to Wrexham Council that telling people what is going on proactively would be useful, saving us to have to write stories from procurement information eg. £40k on 300 new sensors, or about rising bollards in the city centre.

 



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