Still 5.4m of council debt: Portsmouths unused Brexit border control post
As white elephants go, few come larger than 25m. That is the cost of the hi-tech border control post, built to government specifications to handle post-Brexit checks on goods entering the UK, that sits near the waterfront at Portsmouth international port.
The building has sat empty and unused for almost a year since its completion, after the UK government announced in April last year that the introduction of post-Brexit import checks would be delayed for a fourth time.
Since then, ministers have altered their plans for how goods will be inspected when they enter the country, with a full border strategy expected to be unveiled next month. Meanwhile, the local council faces an estimated 10m bill to cover its debts, maintenance and the cost of catering to the new changed requirements.
It is frustrating, says Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth international port, surveying the echoing, empty rooms inside the enormous, state of the art structure. Because weve built to a design that was specified by the government So weve done what theyve asked, and we built it in time.