Staff involved in signing a contract to sell land before necessary consultation was carried out no longer work for Lichfield District Council, the local authority’s chief executive has said.

Lichfield District Council House

The comments came at a meeting of the cabinet to discuss the proposed disposal of land at Leyfields and Netherstowe.

The sale was approved at the meeting – but leader Cllr Doug Pullen said they had been placed in an “impossible position” due to the agreement being signed in July 2020 without the knowledge of the cabinet.

Cllr Andy Smith, cabinet member for innovation, commercialisation and corporate service, said answers were needed on how the situation had been allowed to happen.

He told the meeting:

“Obviously something in our people or process failed whereby we signed our legal agreement prior to going out to public consultation.

“I’d like to hear what went wrong there and I’d like reassurance that going forward we will avoid that in the future.”

Cllr Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council

Chief executive Diane Tilley said an officer who was no longer at the council had acted on “a previous and valid cabinet decision”.

“In respect of what happened, the agreement that was reached in 2018 proposed that consultation would be part of the planning process.

“It was only on the signature of the agreement – which with the benefit of hindsight that officer should have perhaps discussed with the relevant elected members, but was acting on a previous and valid cabinet decision – that it was highlighted that the required actions had not taken place.

“None of the officers involved in this, from legal advisors through to those signing the contract, are working with the council any longer.

“I would emphasise to all members and the public that we are conscious of this situation and we know the sensitivities that have been awaken through it.”

Diane Tilley, Lichfield District Council

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  1. So did those directly involved leave as a result of this decision? Or was it natural wastage? Or did they leave in order to take up other positions and their departure was completely unrelated to this?

    Did anyone with knowledge of the decision at the time raise concerns?
    Did the chief executive herself ultimately approve this decision?

    This really is the story that keeps on giving – mainly unanswered questions.

  2. A council officer effectively sold a piece of land for building without any council member being aware.

  3. Me thinks she should change her surname to Teflon because nothing out of order sticks to her and blame is always pushed elsewhere – she will at some point have had to give it the final sign off!

    Just checking is it the case that the tea lady in the canteen signs off the 2021 budget?

  4. Surely this is another example of maladministration – one of many – by this council.
    But will anything be done about it – I suspect not

  5. In fact let’s call this what it is ‘Total cobblers’ Ms Tilley should resign for basically not carrying out the role defined as a chief executive should do and that’s make sure everything is delivered correctly, safely, legally and for the benefit of the City.

    So glad I left the employment of LDC when I did, just wish someone would show her the door quick pronto and show the same door to the deputy chairman then bring in a ‘Proper’ CE, bring someone with some character and honesty into the fold

  6. Unbelievable land can be sold with no one in the upper echelons of authority approving it ? Big hole in the system here if that,s the case and needs sorting ……. if its temporary staff the must have accountability and guidelines …? come on guys this needs sorting……

  7. If due process wasn’t followed in the sale, and if planning consent needed hasn’t been granted, then surely this can be stopped? Or is there no appetite in the council to do the right thing and listen to the will of the people? Methinks the councillors doth protest too much.

  8. Not sure if this cannot be undone or not, LDC would be very silly to concede, it does suspiciously sound very convenient to allow through for all parties

  9. LDC is well known for its prehistoric approach to most things, it’s doesn’t help that some elected members haven’t changed with the times or are in the old boys club, Lichfield is a jewel in the crown but I fear more & more of these decisions are going to take away its unique attraction and we will become another typical town with typical buildings and typical values……take a look at the decision to turn the old Kwiksave in Apts instead of returning it back to a retro cinema….

  10. It sounds like a few more people should no longer be at the council. What an utter shambles. Such incompetence would not be tolerated in any other field.

  11. Another example of the incompetence of the planning department. How many new houses do we need? There are over 2000 in the pipeline (South Lichfield, Darwin Park etc.) and conditions imposed on them are not enforced.

  12. Well, LDC does have a long history of questionable planning decisions, so not holding my breath that this one will pan out any better.

  13. What a cop out!

    A planning consultation is in no way equivalent to a proper community consultation on a vital community facility that takes into consideration local views, including vital place making criteria.

    We all know the current planning system supports a numbers game and in no way takes community cohesion and other vital issues that plague people’s lives for years to come into consideration.

    To use a planning consultation as a salve is shocking and shows the complete contempt the council has for local views.

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