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Cut-price stadium raises concerns

CONTRACTS DONCASTER

COUNCIL chiefs in South Yorkshire are understood to be close to appointing a new contractor for a stadium job that overshot its original budget by £5 million.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council met yesterday with the appointment of a builder at the top of its agenda.

It is understood Mowlem is favourite to net the £32 million contract to build the new home of League One side Doncaster Rovers FC, the town's rugby league team, Doncaster Belles ladies football club and the local athletics team.

Mowlem and three other contestants - Shepherd, Laing O'Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine - were asked to reprice the deal in an effort to drive costs down after original bids came in £5 million over the council's budget.

One bidder said: 'The council came up with a list of revisions to make the scheme affordable.'

Some at the council initially feared the entire project could be put in jeopardy because of the problems of finding any extra money to pay for it.

These worries have been replaced by concerns that the project may have been scaled back too much in order to make it more economical.

Councillor Garth Oxby said: 'I don't know what kind of deal the council has struck.

'It is hard to see how contractors could have shaved millions off their original bids without a serious cutback on specifications.'

The council had hoped work on the stadium would start this spring but the project has still to get full planning consent.

Besides the main sports arena, the Lakeside Community Stadium plan includes five-a-side football pitches, conference and banqueting facilities, a gymnasium, restaurant and park.