Concerns over final Pyramids work expense

The Pyramids Centre in Southsea
The Pyramids Centre in Southsea
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County council leader repeats authority bid

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FRESH concerns have been raised about the amount of taxpayers’ money that could be spent maintaining The Pyramids Centre.

Portsmouth City Council has already set aside £1.9m in case things go wrong over the next five years at the Southsea leisure complex.

The figure is based on the outcome of a technical survey carried out earlier in the year.

But Chris Ward, the council’s chief financial officer, admitted the cash didn’t take into account ‘unknown’ things that might happen – such as if the main pool springs a major leak.

On top of that amount, BH Live, the new operator of The Pyramids, is being given £200,000 over the course of its five years contract to help run the business.

That’s cheaper than what was anticipated, and council papers reveal £100,000 each year will now be saved over the next three years.

Councillor John Ferrett, Portsmouth’s Labour group leader, said: ‘We are still of the view that The Pyramids is a waste of public money, but we are now locked into a contract. We are really concerned.

‘Given the magnitude of the cuts we are facing, the council shouldn’t be taking the risk, a risk that we will have to fund from the city council’s coffers at a time when we have no money.

‘We will have to cut more vital services in order to fund it.’

Mr Ward said people shouldn’t be overly concerned though as he doesn’t think anything out of the ordinary would happen.

He added: ‘It may well be that the amount we have proposed in maintenance is too much and that money may not have to be drawn out. Money that is not drawn out will be held in reserves for future years. Council officers will meet BH Live bosses next week to see how maintenance work can be done around their schedule so it’s not impacted.

BH Live could seek damages if work affects its income.