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Water leaks land Brighton and Hove City Council with £114k bill
A water bill of £89,000 was presented to town hall bosses after a leak went undetected for months.
Brighton and Hove City Council revealed the figure, which related to Saunders Park in Lewes Road, Brighton, as it argued for spending £500,000 on installing automatic meters for all its utilities at its properties.
The local authority claimed the investment will mean it can save energy and money while fitting in with its aims of becoming the “greenest city in the country”.
However, some questioned if the local authority should be spending that amount of money at a time of Government cuts, labelling it a “pet project”.
The issue was discussed at the council’s policy and resources committee last week.
Town hall bosses said it has about 2,500 meters but admitted there are some areas where it does not know exactly where they are.
As well as the bill at Saunders Park, there was also a leak at Kingsway Bowling Greens in Hove seafront which resulted in a demand for £25,000.
The council said the changes will mean it can identify leaks earlier and accurately see the effects of its utility saving measures.
In addition to the £500,000 cost in installing the meters, the council will also pay about £60 a year per meter for annual data collection. This will amount to up to £50,000 per annum over five years.
The council said it was not possible to estimate how much money the meters would save during this time.
Green councillor Pete West said: “This is about developing the right cultural organisation in the council.
“How can we expect people in the council to be making the right choices if as an organisation we are not reducing waste.
“We’re trying to save the organisation money so it can be redirected towards services that we need to protect the vulnerable when we’re being financially constrained by the Government.”
Labour councillor Les Hamilton said: “I do not understand why we do not already get accurate readings.
“I do not understand why people cannot read these meters as we all have to do at home. With the current financial situation I really cannot see why we should spend £750,000 when there are no details of it saving money.
“It’s just the sort of thing that people will look at and say ‘why are the Greens spending our money on their pet projects’.”