Published: Tuesday, 22nd February 2022
The new White Oak Leisure Centre has opened its doors to the public with over 10,000 people visiting across the opening weekend.
The centre, the single largest investment by Sevenoaks District Council in over 30 years, provides a modern, energy-efficient, state-of-the-art facility the whole community can be proud of for generations to come.
The Council is now actively exploring options to recover some of the additional construction costs that were out of its control.
Work on the new centre began at height of the pandemic, and the site had to introduce extensive COVID-19 safety measures to protect workers. Alongside this all developments have experienced supply chain problems in the past year. This has resulted in some building materials becoming more expensive or unavailable.
Whilst these have added some extra costs to the project, there have been two further issues with the development that have also had an impact on the cost of the project. During the early stages of construction, a network of KCC highway drains were uncovered, these were not mapped or found during surveys of the site by specialist contractors.
More recently, the Council learned that the demolition costs of the old centre are set to increase as the surveyors working on behalf of the construction firm underestimated the full scale of the work.
The Council believe that most of the additional costs may have been preventable, so are looking how these can be recovered.
Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of the Council, says:
“After opening the new centre that sees an exciting future for health, sport and leisure in the north of the District with both a fabulous new centre and operator, we are determined to provide Council Taxpayers with the best value for money in any projects we undertake.
“There is no doubt that undertaking a large-scale project during a global pandemic andat a time when the nation is forging new trade arrangements would bring challenges, which we have overcome.
“Some of the extra costs we believe could have been avoided and as such we are looking at how best to recover them.”