Valerie Vaz MP slams costs of Narrow Lane GRT Transit Site

“I wrote to Walsall Council to ask about the costs of the Transit Site at Narrow Lane,and the Council confirmed that as at March 2022,the figure was £542,720 which had been spent on the feasibility, design and delivery of the Site. The estimated spend on completion of construction is£590,000.
At the meeting of the Council Cabinet on 10 February 2021 which approved the site the Report to the Cabinet said the costs were £160,000 for design work, surveys and construction of the site.
I am alarmed that Walsall Council may have exceeded the costs by over 250% on a Site that was opposed by over 2000 residents in the area and was never part of the Site Allocation Document allocated as a GRT site.
In the Express and Star on 22 April 2022, a Council spokeswoman said that “the site was included in the site allocations document and was identified as a potential residential development”. This is misleading as it was not allocated as a GRT site. Living in a caravan is not residential development. Houses would provide greater protection than caravans from air pollution, which breaches the National Air Quality Objective limit at the junction.
The Council have frequently cited a lack of funds to undertake local services. For example, they said they have no funds to re-fence the allotments at Hucker Road after a break-in. The Youth Service which had a building on the Site is operating from a porta-cabin in another location.
My constituents would like a twenty-four hour patrol to catch fly-tippers and to keep our streets clean.
Conservative-controlled Walsall Council has the wrong priorities, allowing spending to over-run on this Site instead of investing in local people.”