Contract for building works at Guildhall to cost £10.8 million

The Council has confirmed that the contract for building works at the Guildhall complex will cost £10.8 million.This varies from the amount indicated in November but is in line with the budget agreed last spring.    

The contract was been awarded to Interserve

The work is expected to be completed by November 2019

The Council’s approach to redevelopment of the Guildhall area has been the subject of controversy since it became clear that no private sector firm was prepared to share the risk on the contract. The approved total capital cost for the project is £12.8 million.

To this should be added any shortfall on running costs


Ironically, 4 years ago, the then Leader of the Council, quoted the Guildhall contract when explaining how attendance at the Cannes estate agents jamboree Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’immobilier (MIPIM)” would generate investment in the Guildhall project.

The next MIPIM event takes place in March in a modest little venue in Cannes (see below). The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (formerly Leeds City Region) – part of the budget for which income from York taxpayers – will be represented there, as they have for each of the last 5 years.

York Council official in Cannes again

The York Council has admitted in a response to a Freedom of Information request that it has an official attending the annual estate agents jamboree in Cannes.

Cannes. Good for fireworks

Cannes. Good for fireworks

The Authority has been criticised in the past for spending £25,000 at the MIPIM (Le marche international des professionnels de l’immobilier) property festival.

The Council has so far failed to demonstrate that any new investment has been  generated by its attendance at the conference.

More about those foreign trips

It seems likely that one of the consequences of Labour losing their grip on the Council – and its PR staff – will be more openness about what is happening.

Secrecy has shrouded the costs – and objectives – of foreign trips made by both Councillors and Officials since 2011.

Nationally the consequences of events such as MIPIM are increasingly under the microscope.

York Council spent £5,747 on trip to Cannes

York twinned with Cannes. Improvement in fireworks expected

York twinned with Cannes. Improvement in fireworks expected

Labour have been forced to admit that they spent £5,747 sending 3 senior officers to this years Estate Agents convention in Cannes.

In 2013 the bill was even higher.

The Council have not revealed how much their partner organisation the “Leeds City Region” – also partly funded by York taxpayers – has spent on the jaunt.

The breakdown for the costs to York Taxpayers are:

“Kersten England (CX) (2 night stay); Katie Stewart (Head of ED) and Andrew Sharp (Strategy and Investment Manager for ED) (both 4 night stays) attended.

Accommodation: £2943.95

Travel: £2653.24

Subsistence for KS and AS: £150 approx.”

In a written answer to a question posed at last nights Council meeting about what tangible benefits attendance at this conference had produced, the Council Leader was less forthcoming.

“Ultimately the benefits of this year’s event will be better known only in the months and years that follow when we see what investor interest results from our attendance”.

So in other words “I’ve no idea”

When pressed further on the benefits of the Cannes initiative he was equally vague

He was asked “What is the value of the investment – detailing each development separately – made in York which can be directly attributed to the Council and its partners’ participation in the 2013 MIPIM event?”