I CAN see why a £10million price tag on a new civic centre has got a few people’s backs up.

In a time in politics when austerity is used in every other sentence (well, it was before Brexit come along) it does seem a little extravagant.

The council officer speaking at a recent council meeting compared the proposal in Grays town centre to the Barbican Centre, a large performing arts centre in London. He said: “I dare to say that emerging designs have shown signs of an elegant, handsome building”.

Well, he’s right. And you wouldn’t expect anything less with a planned front entrance costing more than £200,000 alone.

And it’s still not clear where the other £9millionplus is going. We’re told about £2.4million will be generated by the 120 flats which will be part of the plan. But who’s paying for these? And, that’s still a lot of millions outstanding.

Scrutiny committee chairman, councillor Oliver Gerrish, said: “The important thing to understand here is this looks like a fairly major cost to the council with the benefit of that largely being the offices that we as councillors enjoy. That may not be the best message to send to residents.”

You’ve got a point there Oliver. Although, I’d probably say “major” rather than “fairly major” cost. Yes, it’s important the council’s new building sets the tone for the future of Grays, as the council officer spoke of in his pitch. There’s a big town centre

regeneration dream which needs realising. However, I think we need more details about where the cash is going in this civic centre dream, and perhaps (cost wise) the whole thing could be toned down a little.