A £200 MILLION council home contract should be reviewed because safeguards to protect taxpayers’ value for money are no longer being followed, a councillor has claimed.

Councillor Mary Mears has called for the review of the ten-year maintenance contract between Brighton and Hove City Council and Mears amid growing concerns the pair have grown too close.

Opposition councillors are also calling for a review into major repair works on council homes following complaints tenants are being charged up to £30,000 at twice the cost advised by independent surveyors.

Housing committee chairwoman Anne Meadows said the contract would be looked at very closely when it comes up for renewal in 2019 and that major works went through a very rigorous process before being carried out.

The Mears contract, Brighton and Hove City Council’s biggest ever contract when signed in 2009, has come under increasing scrutiny in the past year after a subcontractor was revealed to have overcharged for plastering on around 1,000 jobs.

The subcontractors have since repaid more than £500,000 for overcharged work.

Cllr Mears said the increased scrutiny of works promised in the wake of the overcharging fiasco had not done enough to reassure herself or residents.

Her fellow Conservative Steve Bell told Thursday’s council meeting that complaints were pouring in from tenants at the costs of major works being carried out on their homes.

Cllr Mears said: “There were very clear details in the contract, we ensured that page by page that there were safeguards put in place.

“Post and pre-inspections are supposed to be done by council surveyors.

“What is happening now is Mears is surveying the work and pricing it up and there is no objectivity, that to me is a conflict of interest.

“We have to understand what changes have been made to this contract so that the chair of housing can describe it as a light touch contract because that is not what we set-up.”

Cllr Meadows said there were a number of concerns around the Mears contract that the cross-party procurement board would be looking at very closely when it comes up for renewal in three years time.

She added that the procedure for major works was extremely thorough with checks carried out by chartered surveyors.

A city council spokeswoman said: "Mears carry out repairs and maintenance on council properties across the city and revisits are part of this work.

"Any problems raised are taken very seriously by both Mears and the council, the needs of our tenants are paramount and we will follow up if there is cause for concern.

"We work closely with all our contractors to ensure quality of work and a swift response when complaints are made.

"In addition, the council’s internal audit team looks carefully at how the housing contract is managed and will continue to do so."