A councillor has slammed Wirral’s ruling Labour party over a costly fire escape staircase.
Nearly £850,000 is being spent on Wallasey Town Hall’s fire escape on top of £179,000 on alterations to the first floor.
Conservative councillor Ian Lewis has criticised Labour for the move as the council has had to make savings of £109m over three years.
He wrote on his blog: “At a time when the town hall is turning off streetlights to ‘save cash’, how on earth can spending so much money on an ‘executive fire escape’ be justified?
“This fire escape looks as though it wouldn’t be out of place in Downton Abbey.
“Either the Town Hall has been in breach of fire safety legislation for all these years, or whoever authorised this work must have missed the memo about cutting back on extravagance.”
The fire escape is already undergoing work and when finished will be incased in double glazing and feature cast-iron balustrades for the banisters.
However, the leader of the Labour group defended his party. Councillor Phil Davies told JMU Journalism: “He’s talking nonsense. This new fire escape is essential in order to make the building safe for staff and visiting residents alike, so they can exit the building safely if there’s a fire.
“It’s especially important for the people on the top floor to get out of the building in case of an emergency because the elevator is broken.
“It’s hypocritical for a Conservative to criticise this when money was set aside for it when they were in power in 2011 and when they too had to make cuts. This work is clearly very necessary.”