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Redesign sends up cost of cop shop

CONTRACTS - POOLE

RISING costs could still scupper a delayed PFI police station scheme in Dorset even though Home Office officials have given it the green light.

Bluestone won the £30 million contract to build the new police and fire station in Poole last March.

But the work for Dorset Police and Dorset Fire & Rescue fell foul of Home Office guidance, which said the design of all new build police buildings should be 'inspirational'.

The project was sent back to the drawing board and the new plans have just been passed.

But costs have risen between £5 million and £10 million and construction work has been put back a year.

A project source said: 'Instead of an above-ground car park we have to put it below ground. That means below the water table as the site is near the harbour. Needless to say that is a big part of the cost increase.' He added: 'I think Bluestone has already spent around £1 million bidding for the deal, including the redesign. There's a great deal of risk for them now and the last thing anyone wants is for red tape to stop this project happening.

'The scheme is never more than six months away from being canned at the moment.

'It seems inconceivable that it might be scrapped. But the current public finance climate will be a major hurdle as the Government is supposed to be paying.' Dorset Police will go back to the Government for extra funding in July.

Bluestone said its bid costs for the project had not yet reached £1 million.