A councillor says a controversial land deal that is set to cost taxpayers in Lichfield and Burntwood £100,000 is evidence of why decisions must be fully scrutinised.
An external investigation has put forward recommendations after it emerged an agreement to sell sites at Leyfields and Netherstowe to a housing association had been made without the necessary consultation taking place.
But after the report failed to identify who was responsible for the failings, Cllr Steve Norman, leader of the Labour opposition group said more answers were needed.
His comments at an audit and standards committee were criticised by Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Conservative member for Highfield ward.
But Cllr Norman said the £100,000 bill – as well as the loss of the projected finance from the deal – meant questions still needed to be asked.
“The report that is going to cabinet seems to downplay the effect on the council’s medium term financial strategy – what’s half a million of capital after all after seeing what was lost with Friarsgate fiasco?
“In addition, it is recommended that £100,000 in ‘compensation’ be awarded to Bromford for the failure to carry out the proper, and legal, procedures.
“The investigation continues – obviously lessons need to be learnt – but is also considering whether there is evidence of maladministration or professional negligence.
“Our role in opposition is to scrutinise the controlling group and we will continue to do so responsibly but without apology.”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Norman said taxpayers would feel aggrieved that £100,000 would be spent fixing the situation rather than being invested into other schemes to benefit the community.
“The proposed grant scheme giving each councillor £300 to give out as grants in their ward will cost the council £14,100 – but if the £100,000 the council is now set to lose had been used instead then every councillor would have had £2,127.66 to give out.
“Alternatively, every adult or child in the district could have been given almost £1 each.”Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council