Protests planned as sculpture costs soar above the £1m mark

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A PROTEST over the controversial Quantum Leap sculpture (above) will be staged in Shrewsbury this weekend.

The final cost of the project passed the £1 million mark after Shropshire Council lost a legal battle with Alun Griffiths Contractors over who should pay the extra costs incurred through delays.

Meole Brace resident John Wilson has joined forces with Councillor Jon Tandy, who represents Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton, to hold the friendly demonstration.

They say others who take exception to the sculpture are welcome to take part.

Mr Wilson told Shrewsbury Living: “It has cost more than the Angel of the North and has made Shrewsbury a laughing stock.

“This has cost three times more than what was estimated.

“We will be there with our placards to let the council know about all the money that has been spent on this, and we are inviting Shropshire taxpayers to come along and take part.”

Mr Wilson estimated The Grange Day Centre for disabled adults in Harlescott, which closed its doors in July, could have stayed open for a further five years with the £1 million that was spent on Quantum Leap.

The original cost of the project was £483,000, but problems with the alignment of the ribs had to be corrected, leading to a delay and extra costs .

Shropshire Council was ordered to pay the contractor an extra £410,000, plus £115,000 legal costs.

Cllr Steve Charmley, cabinet member for health and well-being at Shropshire Council, said: “This was an extremely complex build and at the time when the problems occurred, we couldn’t leave the structure as it was.

“Therefore, we were left with no choice but to see the project through to completion and correct the problem.

“This additional payment will be paid for as a one-off cost from our existing capital budget.

“The council is currently considering its options regarding further actions to recover monies from other related parties.”

Cllr Charmley said the Quantum Leap and other attractions contributed more than £137 million to the county’s economy.

The protest at the sculpture, which is on Smithfield Road, is on Saturday from 10am until noon.

See full story in the Leader

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