Busway dispute settled
A dispute over the cost of building the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway has been settled. The contractor, BAM Nuttall, has agreed to pay £33m back to Cambridgeshire County Council meaning the local authority will have paid the Busway builder £84.7m. The original price was £83.9m with BAM claiming that the construction had actually cost them £152.5m of which they had received £117.7m in payments. BAM were two years late in handing over the project and claimed the Council owed them a further £43m, leading to the protracted legal dispute. The settlement represents a move of £76m in the council’s favour and avoids the need to incur further legal costs through the courts.
Following this latest development, the total cost of the Busway, including land acquisition and staffing costs, as well as interest, is £152m against a budget of £126m. The Council has already found and paid £17.8m of the gap with £8m left to find. This payment will be spread over 25 years through the capital budget.
Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, Martin Curtis, said, ‘It is clear that the Council was right to take the bold decision to provide better transport options for residents in one of the fastest growing parts of the country; and right that we signed a robust contract with BAM Nuttall. The Busway is a huge success and way ahead of passenger and business case forecasts. What is deeply disappointing and frustrating is that it has taken this long and cost us so much money to win our arguments and stop BAM Nuttall from trying to take tens of millions of pounds away from local taxpayers. BAM’s unwillingness, until now, to recognise their financial liability means they have tied up and cost Cambridgeshire taxpayers money which could have been better spent on our communities. We have always been very sure of our case and would have been willing to go to court to fight that case. However, following discussions with all group leaders, we felt that we would rather have certainty and settle the matter than risk mounting legal costs.’