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Waved goodbye with £390k… boss of £3m flop reef

A council boss who was responsible for a £3million surfing reef that doesn’t work is leaving his job with a £390,000 pay off.

The golden goodbye for Tony Williams comes as his local authority has scrapped weekly bin collections, closed public toilets and outsourced departments.

Mr Williams was lead officer on the Bournemouth reef project — an underwater structure made up of 55 huge sandbags that was supposed to create waves for surfers. It has not worked since it was built in 2009 and was finally abandoned last November when the final attempt to find a use for it — as a dive trail — failed.

In 2011, Mr Williams was promoted to his £125,000-a-year role as chief executive of Tory-run Bournemouth council, but he is being made redundant and will leave on March 31.

The council said the payout, which will be on top of his lucrative pension, is a statutory amount and adds up to around three years’ salary. But one resident on a Bournemouth internet forum said: ‘This is an absurd amount of money when we are operating under huge budget cuts.’ Fiona Morphew wrote on Facebook: ‘Toilets closed, bus routes cut, amongst many other cutbacks and he gets this.’

In a statement Mr Williams said: ‘I will be very sad to leave at such an exciting time.’