By Linda Hall • 31 May 2023 • 16:40
PORTSMOUTH: Border checks warehouse still empty
Photo credit: CC/ASillyLittleMan
A GIANT warehouse for post-Brexit border checks costing £25 million (€29 million) lies empty.
Nearly 12 months after construction was completed, the complex at Portsmouth’s international port – the UK’s second-busiest Channel port – is unused.
The UK government announced over a year ago that checks on fresh European Union imports would be delayed for the fourth time as ministers discussed how to carry out inspections.
The new border strategy will be revealed this month but meanwhile Portsmouth city council, which owns the port, has bills to pay.
The council received £17.1 million (€19.9 million) of public money but even after modifications to cut costs, Portsmouth city council needed a loan to cover the shortfall.
Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth’s international port, recently told the British media that the facility has cost the city’s taxpayers £5.4 million (€6.3 million), which must be repaid.
As the council was liable for any defects in the building’s first year, it also had to pay to run the facility’s lights and freezers last summer when electricity prices were at their highest. This cost another £500,000 (€581,767).
In all the council must find £10 million (€11.6 million) to cover its debts, maintenance and the government’s changed requirements.
“We built to a design specified by the government, we did what they asked, and we built it in time,” Sellers said. “It’s frustrating.”
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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