Basildon residents have been left angry at the council for spending £7,500 on a new "door mat" for the staff entrance at the council offices.

Details of the expenditure were highlighted in a newsletter distributed by Independent Councillor Kerry Smith, who has called it a “waste of money”.

One resident who received the newsletter but did want to be named, said: “I learnt about it after a leaflet came through my door from my ward councillor.

Southend Standard:

“I just think it’s absolutely outrageous and somebody needs to look into it. When public funding is as low as it is and we’ve got increasing amounts of homeless people living on the streets, this just seems ludicrous.

“How they can justify spending £7,500 on a door mat is just beyond me. I don’t know what that could have been spent on but surely it could have been better spent than that because it seems excessive to spend that on a carpet.”

Councillor Kerry Smith said: “I sent this out in my regular newsletter because people should be aware where their money is being wasted, particularly as the council will soon be asking for more money in the budget.

Southend Standard:

“The present administration has doubled the amount of service committees for oversight but that kind of spending has not been discussed. Why would it not have gone to the relevant committee before going ahead?

"No one wants a meeting about a door mat but you do want a meeting about £7,500 being wasted.”

Mr Smith described the mat as “eight foot by six foot and bland”, adding that the main entrance used by the public has a smaller mat.

A spokesman for Basildon Council defended it as a health and safety measure.

He said: “The staff entrance at the Basildon Centre underwent a safety inspection last year.

Southend Standard:

"Following the investigation sunken recessed matting was recommended, which would have required significant work.

"Basildon Council opted for surface fixed matting as a safe and viable alternative, substantially reducing the total cost of the project.

“Tile etching and other solutions have previously been used in an attempt to reduce slips, but these only act as a temporary measure therefore generating additional future costs.

“Basildon Council is committed to ensuring the safety of its employees and other users of the building and will do whatever is required to protect them so far as is reasonably practicable.”