AN ‘urgent and wholesale’ replacement of the lighting system at Bolton town hall is set to land the council with an unexpected bill of more than £400,000.

It was recently discovered there had been a systematic light fitting failure at the building, which required immediate attention.

The urgent need for the work meant normal rules for possible scrutiny of decisions by council members were bypassed.

Bolton Council has said that if the work was not completed now there could eventually be a safety risk at the building.

An ‘urgent item’ on ‘failure of light fittings’ was put before the then deputy council leader Cllr Martyn Cox at a meeting on April 27.

The paper was not made public, but details of the decision made by Cllr Cox, before the council was dissolved prior to the elections, have now been published from the minutes of that meeting.

It reveals that almost £415,000 has now been allocated to spend on fixing the lighting issues.

The report of the meeting, states: “The director of place submitted a report which provided background information to a recent lighting failure at the town hall including the detail behind the original contracted works and the actions taken following the incident and the proposals to rectify the issue together with indicative budget allowances.

“The borough solicitor explained that owing to the immediate action needed, the decision of the executive cabinet member was excluded from the call-In process.

“Approved was the wholescale replacement to a value of £414,696, plus 10 per cent contingency.”

The huge expense comes on top of extra funds found in February for works to preserve Bolton Town Hall for future generations after it was found that work on the project was costing more than first anticipated.

Restoration work is taking place on the portico of the listed historic building and the clock face.

Around £476,000 for the work needed was approved last September and in February an extra £190,000 was set aside after additional surveys and investigations revealed ‘additional urgent works’.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “We have identified a potential fault with some of the building’s fixtures, which if left unresolved could eventually become a safety risk.

“While there is no immediate safety risk, we are acting now both as a precautionary step and because current work-from-home guidance means disruption will be kept to a minimum.

“Bolton Town Hall is quite rightly a source of great civic pride for our residents.

“We will continue to invest in its upkeep, and this is factored into council budgets.”