Plans to invest £650,000 in Dudley town hall's bar are to be examined in detail after being described as 'obscene' by a Conservative councillor.

Cllr Shaun Keasey, the member for the Sedgley Ward, attacked the proposal passed by the borough's cabinet last week, saying the money could be better spent on projects in local areas.

The proposal is set to become a controversial issue in the run up to local elections in May as opposition councillors criticise what they describe as wasteful spending.

But the plan has been defended by the borough's council Labour leader who said the project saying was first proposed when the Conservatives were in control, and would pay for itself through increased takings and tickets sales for shows at the town centre venue.

Questioning the decision at Monday's full council, Cllr Keasey said in his experience as a director of nightclub the project was massively overpriced and came as the council was forced to make cuts elsewhere.

He argued: " £650,000 is an obscene amount of money in the present climate, to be spent on what appears to be a refurbishment, and who is going to build it? Harrods?"

Dudley Town Hall
Dudley Town Hall
 

"My goodness me, someone saw Dudley cabinet coming on this one."

Saying the money could be better spent on local areas, he added: "There isn't a proportion of £650,000 in our wards because Labour will spend it - sorry waste it - on a bar."

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of the Conservative group, said the proposal was rushed and its business plan lacked enough information for Conservatives to back the proposal.

Suggesting it be sent to a scrutiny for further examination he added: "As I say the business isn't detailed sufficiently.

"There is no indication of how those figures on the projected increased revenue will appear. It looks like they have simply been plucked out of thin air, I'm sure that's not the case."

Cllr Qadar Zada, Labour council leader, said the proposal had originally been proposed in January last year when the Conservatives were in control of the authority, adding: "So to sit there with this pretence of virtue that this a bit of a rushed issue is, I am afraid, insincere."

He added the bar would open during the day and the projected increase in revenue was also linked to higher ticket sales for events held at the town hall.

"The amount this council wants to spend is very, very modest. In comparison Wolverhampton has invested £38 million (on Civic Halls) and we are here bickering about something you were all party too and we are now seeing through"

The proposal will now go to a scrutiny committee for further debate.