THE wheels have come off plans for a new skate park at Rivermead after talks between Swindon Council and the contractor set to carry out the work broke down.

Plans for one of the biggest skate parks in the town have been floated since 2011 and faced stern opposition when a location close to Saltway fields was selected.

Following a consultation process, the park was re-sited to land at Rivermead, but due to the lapse of time and additional work required with the soggy soil, the contractor, Wheelscape, upped their costs by almost £10,000.

Swindon Borough Council officers said to accept the price increase would be indefensible, with a budget of £65,000 to work from, and will now put the contract back out to tender.

A spokesman for the council said: “The original price included in the quotation from November 2012 was for £65,000.

“However, following the significant time delay between the original quotation date and proposed start date of mid-April 2015, we were informed by Wheelscape a few weeks ago that they now wished to review their original quotation for this work with the revised price now being £74,400.

“We were advised that this price increase was partly due to the relocation of the site as the new site at Rivermead needed additional excavation to produce a level terrace to build upon and due to the wet nature of the new site, it now requires some land drainage to be installed to prevent water from running onto the concrete pad from the adjacent tarmac footpath.

“In addition, there was also an increase for staffing overheads, labour and materials.

“Officers and the cabinet member for Streetsmart met last week, along with colleagues from the council’s Procurement Team and were informed that to now accept Wheelscape’s requested increased price of £74,400 would significantly change the materiality of the agreement and leave the council exposed to a challenge we could not defend.

“The correct course of action is therefore to re-tender the contract and make sure when doing so the specification does not favour any potential bidder by including elements that are of their design or specification.

“In light of the time taken along with the changes made since the original quotation was received and as no contract had been signed, we are now unable to make Wheelscape honour their original quotation.

“Therefore officers will now be re-tendering this work over the next few weeks with a view of having the new skate park constructed by the autumn.”

Coun Mick Bray (Con, Lydiard and Freshbrook) said the news had come as a surprise to councillors, and promised the retendering process will now begin as a matter of urgency.

“Since mid-2014 this is the first information we have received in respect of the construction of the skate park,” he said.