Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Anger at Waterfront revamp's rising cost

Waterfront Hall Belfast
Belfast:Waterfront Hall.

Concerns have been raised by councillors at the rising cost of ratepayers' money being earmarked for a multi-million pound extension of the Waterfront Hall.

An extra £3m will have to come from Belfast City Council after the overall budget to deliver the project jumped from £20m to £30m.

Originally, £8m had been earmarked from council's capital programme.

During last night's full council meeting it emerged that a recent report said more cash was needed to develop it into a conference centre to enable Belfast to compete with other cities.

The council's "overall commitment" is now £11m.

The SDLP's Pat McCarthy questioned the budget increase.

"This has happened before, he said. "We were told the Welcome Centre would cost £1.1m then all of a sudden it is £1.8m before a brick is laid. We are spending millions of pounds a year on consultancy fees. I just wonder if it's money well spent?"

The DUP's Christopher Stalford, however, said the investment is needed to attract business.

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