CONCERNS have been raised about the escalating costs of the revamp of St Maurice's Covert in Winchester city centre.

The city council recently agreed to spend an additional £90,000 on the covered area between the High Street, Market Lane and the The Outer Close.

The current estimated cost of the work, which is due to start after Christmas is now £225,000.

Cllr Fiona Mather said: "I'm concerned how the costs of phase 1 have increased to way beyond the original costs of phases 1,2,3,4. I understand Vladimir Putin is hogging supplies of York stone for repaving Moscow. I'm concerned the area we want to repave is not out of scale for what someone might want to do in their garden.I'm concerned about the way the costs are escalating and I need reassuring we are taking every measure to make sure we have got a competitive quote especially for the repaving."

"People are saying 'why spend so much money when all it needs is a lick of paint."

Simon Finch, city council corporate head of service, said the project had been a long time in the pipeline and costs had risen over time. It was not as straightforward a scheme as it seemed.

Cllr Kim Gottlieb, replying to Cllr Mather, said: "Local people I have spoken to want to see this happen. I think it has been sensibly costed."