Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Consultants paid £3.5m for abandoned Maze stadium

Consultants including Mott MacDonald were paid more than ВЈ3m in fees for work on an abandoned stadium project on the site of the former Maze prison in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) paid planning consultants ВЈ3.5m in fees for the project in the past three years, according to the BBC.

A Belfast advertising firm was paid more than ВЈ10,000 for advice on the naming rights for the stadium, despite work never having started.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP, who supported the project, have attacked the costs.

A proposal to build a stadium for soccer, Gaelic football and rugby at the site of the former Maze prison site was shelved earlier this year.

The DCAL minister at the time Gregory Campbell told department officials that the cost estimated at between ВЈ156m and ВЈ193m would not be compensated by the social and economic benefits.


Consultants paid £3.5m for abandoned Maze stadium


The biggest fee was paid to engineering and planning consultants, Mott MacDonald.

As well as ВЈ2,417,634 for "design" costs in 2007-8, the firm were also paid ВЈ726,566 for "business planning" costs a year earlier.

A spokesman for the company said they drew up plans which were comprehensive enough to go forward for planning permission, once an environmental impact assessment had been completed.
Belfast-based advertising firm Fire IMC were paid ВЈ10,000 for advice on how naming rights to the new stadium could be financially exploited.

The other consultancy costs incurred by the department include ВЈ181,302 to KPMG/Davis Langdon for "programme management" and a further ВЈ17,943 to the same company for a purpose not revealed.

Management consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers were paid ВЈ196, 935 for "business planning" work, while the same company charged ВЈ1,491 for its employees to brief the minister on the work it had carried out.

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