AN ABORTED office move cost a council £24,000, prompting outrage from councillors.

West Sussex County Council spent thousands on plans to move senior management into another floor of County Hall in Chichester.

But the move was eventually cancelled despite having spent £17,162 in building costs and more than £7,000 on consultants.

Opposition leader Cllr Michael Jones said the council was “starting to resemble Fawlty Towers”.

“These were perfectly good offices that didn’t need any work whatsoever done on them,” he said.

“West Sussex County Council is the ultimate example of an organisation that is penny wise and pound foolish.

“This is all money that could have been spent on frontline public services like keeping our mobile library service running instead of getting rid of it.

“How on earth does it cost that much to remove some partition walling and what did take seven thousand pounds’ worth of consultants to work out how to do it?”

Referencing recent revelations that the county council spent £36,000 on a drone it never used, Cllr Jones said the botched move was a case of bad management that cost taxpayers money.

A spokesman for the county council said the office move was called off because there were concerns the proposal “was not the most effective use of space”.

He said: “The costs of the work undertaken to date with office rearrangement is £24,346.

“There were concerns that the proposal to move the executive team into this area was not the most effective use of this space.

“It would lead to teams having to pay for meeting rooms off campus, so it was decided that the council would be better served using this space as hot desks.

“The space created has now created space for up to 18 hot desks and still leaves six large meeting rooms which would have been unavailable to staff had the executive team moved in.

“In desk space alone, the cost of our desks is approximately £3,000 per desk per year, so this increased capacity has added the equivalent of £54,000 of usable desk space.”

The criticism came after a number of other controversies at the council.

Earlier the leadership admitted it had spent more than £300,000 on furniture in the past two years.

Last month it proposed to cut free railcards for elderly people.