NEW vans for the town hall’s pest control and response teams had to be bought a year early at a cost of £85,000, according to a council report.

Five light goods vehicles for the Oldham services had to be replaced after they became “dilapidated” quicker than had been predicted.

The council has now agreed to pay the money to buy new vans, through a contract that has been given to Peugeot.

Helen Lockwood, Oldham’s executive director for economy, skills and neighbourhoods, signed off on the final decision which affects 70 per cent of the current fleet of seven vehicles.

The decision was made to buy new vehicles, rather than hire them in the short term which would “negatively affect service delivery” and would drive up costs.

It had been assumed that the lifespan of the vehicles the town hall originally bought in 2014/15 would last for five years.

However, a council report states that after just four years they have come to the end of their “economical life” and now need replacement “urgently”.

Bosses have revised down their predictions for the new vans to a shortened service lifespan of four years each, as they will be subject to ‘intense usage’.

“Renewing Oldham’s fleet will ensure that Oldham can continue to deliver excellent services, with equipment that meets the needs and standards of the authority,” the report states.

Funding for the vans will come from prudential borrowing, and money earmarked from the capital programme for maintaining the fleet.

But because the replacements come a year earlier than anticipated, there is £17,900 of borrowing outstanding, due next year which will be met from the fleet replacement programme reserve.

The vans that are no longer being used by the authority will be sold at auction for capital receipts.

However, officers say that the value of each receipt is “unlikely to be significant” as the vehicles are not in good condition due to heavy usage.