Worth waiting for?

First published in Leader

DELAYS to the Heart of the City scheme have been frustrating for all involved.

Initially, the finish was delayed until April, then it slipped back again and now the county council is talking about completion in July.

For the traders around the Market Place, especially the indoor market, it has been particularly irksome.

Trading conditions are not the best and the longrunning works have placed further obstacles in the way of prospective shoppers.

It was brave of the county council to admit that it was probably too ambitious in drawing up its timetable for the work.

Only if circumstances had been perfect could the work have been completed by the target date of February, it now tells us.

Surely, the first rule of project management is that what can go wrong will go wrong and work should be scheduled accordingly.

That rule applies most acutely with any project involving work outside, as is the case with this scheme.

Given the controversy that has surrounded Heart of the City almost since its inception, the delays have hardened attitudes towards the benefits it will bring. The number of doubters has grown. We hope they are wrong and the finished scheme will be judged worthy of the time and expense – and the city.

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