Cost of new Barrhead station soars

The cost of building a new train station in Barrhead has increased by more than £9m.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 5:33 pm
Councillors have raised concerns about the increasing cost
Councillors have raised concerns about the increasing cost

Opposition councillors have raised “huge” concerns as the projected price for a new Barrhead South station is now £18m.

Inflation and changes to the scope of the scheme have been given as reasons for the rise East Renfrewshire Council chiefs.

A revised budget was approved by the council at a meeting last week. It had initially been expected to cost around £8.8m.

Funding from the Glasgow City Region City Deal – a £1.13bn scheme funded by the UK and Scottish Governments – will be used for the project.

There is a £44m investment package for East Renfrewshire, with £38m from the governments and £6m from the council.

Councillor Stewart Miller said: “Although I’m not a civil engineer, the cost of the new station does seem quite excessive to me.

“I looked at some of the figures from Robroyston station and whilst the initial projected cost was around £10m for the whole project, it ended up costing £14m, or 40 per cent more.

“If the same was to happen at our new station that could end up costing council taxpayers an extra £7.5m

“I’m quite sure the City Deal cabinet would not be stumping up for the extra.”

He welcomed the station and the benefit for Barrhead residents “albeit at a vastly enhanced price”.

The station on the Glasgow to Neilston line would improve access to jobs and services for people in Auchenback and new residents in planned housing developments.

It has been benchmarked against the new rail station at Robroyston, which was completed in 2019 at a cost of £14m.

Costs have increased for several reasons, a council report reveals, including accessibility legal requirements meaning lifts and an overhead bridge are now needed.

The original estimate was based on a start date in 2018, but work is now expected to begin in 2023 and tender prices have increased due to inflation, the report adds.

Council leader Tony Buchanan said construction costs are currently expected to have increased by 30 per cent for “a variety of reasons, both as we come out of Covid and Brexit”.

He continued: “There is concern around those figures and obviously they have been looked at, we try to cover costs as much as we can.

“I’ve no doubt discussions will continue at government level with a view to taking those on board.”

Conservative councillor Jim Swift also questioned the potential cost of the scheme.

He said: “I do accept inflation is rising, I do accept that building costs can increase, but I do have some huge concerns.

“We’ve seen the cost of the leisure centre go vertical as well. We do need to be better at forecasting costs as a council.”

Initially, £26m was allocated for a new Eastwood leisure centre but, in March, it was revealed the overall cost could be over £50m.

Environment director Andy Cahill said he took on board the comments about forecasting, but some schemes had originated in 2014/15 so “many things have changed in so many ways”.

He added he would “do a value engineering exercise to see how much we can scale back without being detrimental to the quality of the facility”.