CASTLEPOINT: WHO WILL PAY?

Bournemouth Echo: COURT THREAT: It's still unclear who will foot the bill for rebuilding Castlepoint's car park COURT THREAT: It's still unclear who will foot the bill for rebuilding Castlepoint's car park

CASTLEPOINT bosses in negotiations over who should pay for the car park to be rebuilt have warned: "We'll go to court if necessary".

The Castlepoint partnership has confirmed it is in "very constructive" discussions with builder Kier over who will pay for the car park to be knocked down and rebuilt.

But David Paine, partnership spokesperson, said they were prepared to take legal action if such an agreement proved impossible to reach.

The partnership has always stated it does not believe it will be liable for any of the costs associated with the defective car park.

Earlier this year, Kier released a statement to its investors that said it was "confident" its insurance arrangements would cover the costs.

Mr Paine told the Daily Echo he was finding the pace of the discussions "frustratingly slow" but said progress was being made.

"While we are looking at Kier because it is the party with whom we had the original contract, it is in turn involving other parties in discussions," he said. "It makes life complicated, but it was never going to be straightforward. We're trying to fathom out whether we can reach an agreement with the various parties involved without taking other proceedings to achieve this.

"Time will tell whether we're able to do that. If we have to resort to legal proceedings, it will take considerably longer.

"We're having very constructive discussions at the moment. While I'd like to think we'll reach a conclusion, we may not.

"We hope the dialogue will lead us down a particular path but we're ready to go down an alternative path if needed."

He added the partnership will not be able to announce a date for the start of the rebuilding work until its discussions with Kier have been resolved.

But he pledged to continue updating traders every month and said the increasing number of visitors to Castlepoint was helping to extend people's patience.

"The centre has been trading extremely well," he said. "In terms of car park usage, it is up against last year. We're very pleased with the fact that people are happy with what the centre offers."

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