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Chiltern District Council decides not to spend £45,000 on furniture
COUNCILLORS have decided against spending £45,000 on new furniture despite concerns raised by their health and safety officials.
Officers at Chiltern District Council were tasked with finding out the cost of new furniture for use in the authority's chamber and committee rooms.
But members of the council's cabinet baulked at forking out the 'astronomical' figures and have asked for a smaller quote from their officials.
Earlier in the meeting members had looked at the possibility of creating a hardship fund of £30,000 for residents previously in receipt of Council Tax Benefit and Cllr Peter Martin said: "It seems like we've got our priorities a little bit wrong. Spending this seems to be wrong and insensitive."
Most council meetings take place in the chamber room at the authority's headquarters in Amersham, but it is also used by members of the public.
Cabinet members agreed at yesterday's committee meeting some of the furniture is in need of replacement, but a full scale upgrade is not necessary despite some of the tables first being installed 27 years ago.
Administration manager Simon Rycraft said: "Our health and safety advisor says it's not practical furniture to be moving around as much as they are at the moment."
But Cllr Peter Hudson said: "I can't support this - it seems an astronomical figure.
"The tables are on wheels so I don't buy this argument they are unsafe to move around. We should look at replacing some of the chairs but we've got to get the figure way down."
Cllr Isobel Darby said: "We need to scale back the replacement, but I do think we need to have chairs in this building that are serviceable. It isn't just chairs for members - other people use this chamber. What if they hurt themselves?
"We have to have a sense of balance. We needed to know how much it costs so we can come to some middle ground."
Members agreed not to proceed with the plans and asked for them to be reconsidered by the council's Corporate Asset Management Group.
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