Social services bosses were hit by a £652,000 bill after Birmingham City Council failed to put money aside for a road to allow elderly people to get in and out of a new special care complex.
The cost of building the road was not included in the business case for Ann Marie Howes centre in Sheldon, resulting in a significant overspend for the cash-strapped department.
No money was set aside either for equipment that would have to be installed in the 64-bedroom centre, adding to the final bill.
Details of the oversight were included in the council’s year-end accounts for 2008/09.
The document describes the issue as a ‘‘significant overspend which was unforeseen in December 2005 when the full business case was approved.’’
The new road will be paid for by borrowing more money and will add to the total council debt, which jumped by 20 per cent last year to hit £2.3 billion.
The Adults and Communities Directorate also overspent by £812,000 on professional fees for the £44 million special care centres programme.
Four centres have been built, in Kingstanding, Harborne, Ladywood and Sheldon. They provide long-term care for people with dementia and short-term places for patients leaving hospital before they return home.
But phase two of the programme – building four more centres – has been put on hold after plunging land prices meant the council could not pay for the new buildings by selling its remaining old people’s homes.
A review is under way to decide whether phase two is still justified. A council spokeswoman denied that provision of the road had been overlooked.
She said: “Ann Marie Howes centre is at the front of a large site area, so the council had to incur developer’s risk in order to progress.
“That is, pay the money up front so that the centre could be built.
“This is recorded as an overspend as Adults & Communities had to bear the cost upfront as they were first to develop the site.
“It was always known that an access road would be needed, the amount in question has been deferred and the cost will be recovered from other developers, when they come on board, on the rest of the site.”
The overspend on professional fees resulted from the decision to mothball phase two of the special care centres.
The spokeswoman said: “When the decision was taken by cabinet to defer the rest of the building programme, these costs had to be paid in this financial year and could not be offset against a resulting building project.
“The value of some of this work will be recouped when future building work is undertaken.”