Despite the Conservative opposition warning that this publicly-funded, vainglorious nonsense was quite probably going to end up as an expensive white elephant, the Liberals pushed on and commissioned it anyway ... without a public consultation.
By way of update, an eagle-eyed fellow jewel robber has pointed me to this article which shows that the Tories were wrong ... it's an even bigger disaster than they had originally warned.
Schools have delivered a resounding snub to Sutton’s controversial Life Centre, leaving taxpayers faced with a hefty bill to support the project.Graham, dear, if a concept is 'difficult to explain', didn't it occur to you that it is something that people had never even considered, so therefore have absolutely no need for, and thus will likely not use? And that's quite apart from the fact that it's extreme arrogance for a council to believe it should be spending taxpayer funds on such a folly.
The life skills centre, which should cost Sutton residents nothing, needs at least 48,000 pupils – about 450 schools – to turn a meagre £9,500 profit.
But with the opening just weeks away, dismal early booking figures reveal the council has only booked 42 schools – just 2,780 pupils – leaving a £190,000 bill to finance its first seven months.
Coun [Graham] Tope said: “The take-up by the schools is disappointing so far. One reason for this is that it is actually a difficult concept to explain."
After reading this, I popped over to the blog of Paul Scully, a local councillor who slated the idea at the time. He doesn't appear to have mentioned this latest development yet but, at time of writing, his last article shows that the barmy Lib Dems in Sutton still haven't stopped spending huge amounts of money on hare-brained schemes.
The wooden menagerie** pictured opposite (below, actually) has been concreted into the pavement on Sutton High Street where there was previously an open space. The metal globe sculpture has been relocated so that people avoiding the wooden fish to go to All Bar One and the Civic Office crash straight into it.That last sentence really jumps out of the page, doesn't it? The idea that a council should be spending money for the hell of it, merely so that it doesn't get spent elsewhere, is as staggering as it is irresponsible.
Lest we forget within the apparent benefits for this £3million splurge of your cash was the statement "Wider footways, better road crossings and less clutter will create a people-friendly zone."
I'm not sure that mocking laughter was the reaction first envisaged by the Lib Dem Council cabinet who approved this project, but that is what appears to be the first reaction of those walking by.
We are still waiting for the 'green wall' to be installed on the face of Wilkinsons, which involves a lawn to be laid vertically up the front of the shop. When challenged over such expenditure, the Lib Dem administration claim that the £3million would have just be spent in another borough.
All in all, this adds up to over £11m spent, in less than 12 months, on schemes which a local authority should arguably not even be contemplating. Tell us again, Mark Serwotka, about how public sector spending cuts aren't necessary.
Finally, as a cherry on the disastrous and wasteful cake, whilst looking around for more information on Sutton's town centre 'improvements' highlighted by Scully, it would appear that a launch party is being organised featuring an outfit called 'The Bureau of Silly Ideas' ... how generous of the Lib Dem councillors to entertain in the High Street on their days off, eh?
** They've only gone and named them too - Ninja the duck; Nemo the dolphin; Sephi the cat; Sparkles the swan; Olivia the pony; Terri the snail; Sonic the frog; Charlie the chicken; Mieow the cat; Sona the fish; Tommy the horse and Freddie the duck.