Opposition press for public inquiry over Pow Beck collapse
Last updated at 11:39, Thursday, 14 June 2012
TORY councillors are renewing their call for a fullscale inquiry into what went wrong with the original Whitehaven community sports centre scheme at Pow Beck.
Stadium partners comprising Copeland Council, Whitehaven RLFC and Whitehaven AFC are currently exploring other options after the collapse of negotiations with Whitehaven Miners’ Social Welfare over access.
More than a million pounds of taxpayer’s money has already been lost in pressing ahead with the £5.5 million project with access first planned through the Recreation Ground, home of Whitehaven RLFC.
Stephen Haraldsen, Copeland Conservative councillor for Hillcrest, has submitted a formal request to the council for an inquiry.
It says: “Given that the council is the accountable public body among the Pow Beck partners and has a duty of care and a responsibility to exercise due diligence, and there is now £1.2 million wasted and no longer available to benefit all the people of Copeland will the portfolio holder (Coun Phil Greatorex) commit to a full independent inquiry into the stadium debacle?”
Tory leader on the council David Moore said: “There has to be a full inquiry. We need to know how this £1.2 million has been spent, exactly what and why bad decisions have been made.”
He said: “If we don’t get satisfactory answers we will consider calling a special meeting of the full council so that everybody can have their say on this one single issue, it’s that important.”
Stadium partners have so far resisted pleas for an inquiry. Council chief executive Paul Walker said: “Like all major projects it is important we review what has happened. All of the partners involved will be doing this as part of considering how we move forward.”
Whitehaven Miners’ have blamed basic project management mistakes for stadium failures.
But even though the partners now maintain the development will still go ahead through a possible new road access, probably via the nearby railway, Whitehaven Miners’ are still willing to hold fresh talks.
Secretary Brian Birkett said yesterday: “Everything has gone quiet, we have had no further contact from the council and I am repeating our own call for an inquiry. It’s scandalous that £1.2 million has been spent with nothing to show for it.
“The current design involves considerable works on the Miners’ land and as they (the partners) no longer wish to pursue this option the design will need reworked resulting in additional funding being required.”
Mr Birkett doubted whether the stadium would go ahead at all “as 20 per cent of the budget has already been spent and without additional funds it isn’t possible.”
First published at 11:08, Thursday, 14 June 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
300K? And the rest Chuck! Copeland Council thinks nothing of paying out a fortune to consultants year after year who produce nothing worthwhile to show for it otherwise they would be splashing the good deeds these experts do all over the whitehaven news. They think nothing of paying off their own hard working staff though. This is where the an enquiry should be concentrated.
Maybe it's time to bring in the local government ombudsman to oversee an inquiry into the mishandling of what has to be viewed as a very small minority interest groups gross inepptitude. Small minority interest group? Why, the council of course.
Never has this level of being out of touch been so demonstrated as a very small minority group of people pushing forward with what the greater majority of people do not want. What is that? The building of a stadium to accomodate a rugby team that has very, very little following within the local community. A rugby team that has gone to the board through lack of generated finances already. A rugby team that has little support locally except, seemiingly, by the local council. What is the matter with these people? Do they think that because this area will vote in a Labour council, no matter how they mess up, they can career 'forward' with whatever hairbrain scheme they wish to? Where is the accountability, where is the sense of responsibility of this small group of irresponsible people?
There again, it will be voted in time and time again so please feel free council, to do whatever you think, no matter how illogical it is.
Has not council leader Woodburn already stated in the local press that one of the assets of the area is WRLFC? Yes, as reported.
Just think people: Â£1.2m spent with nothing to show for it. What could this astronomical figure have bought locally? How could services have been improved with this huge figure? How many council taxes has this used up?
This council has a lot to answer for. There is only one way. Will that ever happen or is the comfort blanket so thick that the helter skelter of irresponsible expenditure (reflect over the last eighteen months) seem endless and bottomless to the group of people who live outwith the current financially stringent times? Next time the movers and shakers in the council announce a cut-back, remember the Â£1.2m.
Ferrets, black puddings and pies, or, what the people of Copeland want, and deserve? Your choice.
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