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Costs of incinerator plan "spiralled" after councillor officer quit project

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 19, 2012

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COUNCIL bosses splashed out on £48,000 consultancy fees on their incinerator plans after a key member of their team quit because he objected to the project.

Planning officer Ben Gilpin was tasked with working on the £500million burner proposals but pulled out of the project at the eleventh hour because of his concerns.

Gloucestershire County Council was already using the firm BPP Consulting as a "critical friend" to the project – work that was going to cost around £10,000. But they then extended the remit of their work because of Mr Gilpin's withdrawal and the costs spiralled to £48,510.

It has also emerged the council did not put the consultancy contract out to tender – that is that they did not look for other potential firms to carry out the work cheaper. Instead they went straight for BPP, who were instrumental in getting approval for an incinerator in Oxfordshire. Anti-incineration campaign group Glosvain said the details, revealed through a Freedom of Information request, were "alarming".

Ian Richins said: "The whole thing has been far too secretive and what we know now is quite alarming. We don't even really know the details of what BPP Consulting have been asked to do because the council say it is commercially sensitive but this is taxpayers' money they are using.

"All of this just adds to the fact we have no confidence in them when it comes to dealing with the planning application next year."

A council spokesperson said: "There doesn't need to be a tender process if the contract is less than £50,000. The cost increased because the case officer asked to be moved off the project."

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  • Shireresident  |  December 21 2012, 6:09PM

    This is very unusual and worrying. How often do technical experts ask to be taken off a brief due to concerns? I would think it's very rare and fuels the speculation around the whole project. The talk that a lot has been done behind the scenes won't go away while this sort of thing comes to light.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  December 19 2012, 1:01PM

    What are they talking about - the waste to energy plant? or the consultancy contract?

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  • Future2010  |  December 19 2012, 12:34PM

    'A council spokesperson said: "There doesn't need to be a tender process if the contract is less than £50,000. The cost increased because the case officer asked to be moved off the project.' More fancy footwork statements from the council: c. £1,500 less than the amount required for a tender process to operate, and I understood that Ben Gilpin was told that BPP were going to be employed as "a critical friend" BEFORE he moved off the project.

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  • Lecorche  |  December 19 2012, 10:25AM

    The stench from GCC is inescapable. Withholding the truth is the same,in my book,as lying. We need to redact the Council Managers.

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  • Councilwonk  |  December 19 2012, 10:08AM

    Assuming media reports on the project are correct, then if costs have gone up by £50k on a £500m project, then its "spiralled" by 1/10,000th...

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  • capital1978  |  December 19 2012, 9:45AM

    Another non-story.

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  • Ysedra  |  December 19 2012, 9:42AM

    Interestingly, about a sixth of the way down the lengthy second document, it becomes completely blank (redacted?). I guess that's where the concerns are to be found?

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  • Ysedra  |  December 19 2012, 9:24AM

    Well, that was an expensive resignation... What were Ben Gilpin's concerns? BTW, I presume it was this F0I request? http://tinyurl.com/d2p76dy

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