AN investigation into why a flagship Powys County Council project was delivered late and £5 million over budget will not be “swept under the carpet”, a meeting has heard.

Chairman of the Audit committee, Cllr John Morris, made the statement at their meeting on Friday, September 4, as concerns were raised over progress on an investigation into the delivery of the Y Gaer project in Brecon.

The council's internal auditors Swap had started the investigation, but due to coronavirus, staff that need to be interviewed have not been available.

Cllr Karen Laurie-Parry (Independent – Bronllys), asked about when the investigation would restart.

SWAP assistant director, Ian Halstead, said: “We have started the work with a terms of reference, carried out a review of governance arrangements.

“What’s left to do is interviewing stakeholders and determining opinion.

“That has been suspended at the moment because the council is focussing on business critical activities.”

Mr Halstead believed the investigation would restart soon.

He added: “We have to look at process of governance and financial control and try and determine if those were effective at the time and give you an opinion on that, and a roadmap for improvement."

Mr Halstead said that he had received assurances from Nigel Brinn, the PCC corporate director for Economy and Environment that access would be given “to all information”.

Cllr Laurie-Parry wanted to make sure that the £5 million could be accounted for.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin – Conservative), said:  “We have sound financial controls in this council, money doesn’t just disappear.

“This goes back to the 1990s, the spec and the project changed over the years.”

Committee chairman Cllr John Morris (Crickhowell – Liberal Democrat): “This will all come out.

“Ian Halstead will  get to the bottom of this, it’s not going to be swept under the carpet.

"The report has been held up because of Covid-19. But when we get it, that will be the time to analyse and get answers to questions that Karen (Laurie-Parry) is quite rightly posing.”

In December 2019, Brecon’s new cultural hub and library, Y Gaer – Welsh for Fortress – finally opened.

It is the redevelopment of the Grade II* listed Shire Hall and construction of a new modern library at the former Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery which saw the project costs rise, from £9 million to £14 million.

The Welsh Government and National Heritage Lottery Fund have provided almost £4 million in grant funding for the project.