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High bids threaten stadium

CONTRACTS DONCASTER

ALL FOUR contractors pricing a £32 million stadium scheme in South Yorkshire have returned bids more than 10 per cent above budget.

The successful bidder will build the new home for League One football club Doncaster Rovers, the town's rugby league team, Doncaster Belles ladies football club and the local athletics team.

The bust bids have caused some at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council to fear that the entire project may have to be scrapped because of problems finding any extra funding.

Shepherd, Laing O'Rourke, Mowlem and Sir Robert McAlpine are all believed to have overshot the budget by as much as £5 million.

Councillor Garth Oxby, an independent, said: 'These bids are huge.The project was initially a £10 million job but as the ground's capacity grew and grew so did the price.

'Where does mayor Martin Winter think he's going to find this money? I'm extremely concerned about the escalation in cost and the scheme could well go pop unless the figures become more manageable.'

Estimators have been asked to reprice the scheme and a second round of tender documents has already been sent out.

One bidder said: 'The council has come up with a list of revisions to the scheme in an attempt to make it more economical.We're looking over them now and trying to bring our price down in light of the changes.'

The council had hoped construction would start this spring.

Mr Oxby added: 'The mayor made bullish claims of having the first bricks laid in January of this year.Where does this leave us now? It's looking over-budget and could well end up overdue.'

Should the scheme go ahead, the Lakeside Community Stadium project will include five-a-side football facilities, an athletics track, conference and banqueting facilities, a gymnasium, classroom, restaurants and a park.Less than 2 km from the football club's current home, the stadium will fill an area of wasteland that adjoins a thriving industrial complex.

The seating capacity for the ground was originally intended to be 10,000 but that is now under review, with the capacity likely to top 15,000. Rovers' present Belle Vue ground will be turned into a housing, leisure and business complex.