Kettering Council's flagship housing scheme went almost £500,000 over budget

Refurbished Montrose House.
Refurbished Montrose House.

A flagship housing redevelopment scheme heralded by Kettering Council cost almost £500,000 more than orginally expected.

Problems with the original design for the refurbishment of 1920s flat block Montrose House caused costs to spiral by almost a quarter.

The block of 18 flats in Hampden Crescent was opened with a fanfare by mayor James Burton at the end of August.

But now council papers show that an underestimation of the project saw costs soar by £478,000 from the original budget of £1.9m to £2.3m.

The report, which will go before the council’s executive committee on Wednesday (Nov 14) says: “A number of items in the original specification for the project, which was produced by a consultant architect, had been omitted in error and some other items had been incorrectly designed. As a result , the appointment of the consultant was terminated, additional surveys were undertaken and the specification revised at additional cost.”

Construction works cost £289,000 more than originally anticipated, the district heating scheme cost £104,000 more, salaries went up by £24,000 and the architect fees rose from £10,000 to £71,000.

The scheme is part of the council’s Homes for the Future project which so far has refurbished 46 of the council’s 3,745 housing stock.

On Wednesday the council is expected to award another multi-million-pound contract for the redevelopment of Hamilton House, a flat block at the junction of Central Avenue and Windmill Avenue.

Four contractors have bid for the 18-flat scheme and after an assessment and rating exercise the council is proposing to award the contract to the company that has put in a tender price of £1.65m. This is the highest of all the bids.

The entire works are expected to cost £2.1m, which is £404,000 more than originally budgeted for by the authority.

Work is set to start in April and should be completed by March 2020.