THERE are a couple of problems with being older and being a little bit grumpy but I suppose the main one is you end up being, how shall I put this...a grumpy old man.

I have to confess that accusation has been made about me on more than one occasion.

I happen to think I’m not grumpy but sadly there’s not a lot I can do about being old.

But I am mindful that I am maybe a little less tolerant than I used to be and maybe I’m a little quicker to judge than I was in the past.

With this in mind, I find myself conflicted about the cost of restoring the Town Hall’s ‘golden gates’ and while I don’t want to come across as the archetypal grumpy old man, I do have serious reservations.

Driving up Winmarleigh Street at the weekend, it was the first time I had noticed the gates in all their splendour since the refurbishment work was completed. Maybe it was because the sun was shining directly on them or perhaps I just haven’t been observant enough on my other trips through town.

Anyway, the fact remains the gates look magnificent again, there’s no question about that.

And I absolutely concede that something needed to be done to remedy the problem once bits started falling off them.

I am also happy to admit the gates are iconic and to some extent, a symbol of the town. Google maps refers to them as an historic landmark (not sure I would go quite that far).

But – and it’s a big but – is the cost of restoring the gates justified in the current economic climate?

Come on people, £526,000 is an awful lot of money to be spending on a set of gates. So the first question I would ask is exactly where did that money come from?

And the second question I would ask is could that money have been better utilised elsewhere?

Now I know the council isn’t crying wolf when it says it’s hard up, 10 years of austerity imposed by central government have seen to that. And I fully understand the council has different budgets and capital spending can be used from reserves but when council services are being cut back, spending more than £500,000 on a set of gates seems just a little excessive.

The question is, did the words of a council spokesman allay my concerns about the cost of the project when he said: “They are truly unique, with none others like them in the world, so it was vital that work was undertaken to protect and restore this key part of our cultural heritage.

“This guaranteed that the work carried out has preserved and enhanced the gates, ensuring them many more years as a much-loved symbol of Warrington’s civic pride.”

Sadly no, it doesn’t allay my concerns. More than £500,000 seems a high price to pay for some civic pride.

You can also add to this the cost of beautifying the so-called cultural quarter, just over the road from the golden gates.

I’m no planning expert and the ‘public realm improvements’ to Springfield Street, sections of Palmyra Square North and South as well as areas within Queen’s Gardens that were completed last year do make that part of town neater.

According to a council press release, the project aims to “support an emerging bar and restaurant scene and included the creation of areas appropriate for outside dining. The entire public realm has also been upgraded to a much higher standard, complementing that which was already in place within Queens Gardens.”

Fine, I have no problem with that until I look at the price tag. Yep it’s a whopping £664,000.

In reality, £664,000 for a bit of road resurfacing and a couple of stone cannonballs. I’m in the wrong business.

In total £1,190,000 for a bit of civic pride and ‘areas appropriate for outside dining’.

Value for money? I don’t think so.