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.

Cllr Steve Norman

“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

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  1. Thank you for mentioning the Friarsgate Fiasco, Councillor Norman! The site at an important entrance to the city now seems to be conveniently forgotten since the screening went up. The police station disappeared and was landscaped over. It is high time for the same thing should happen with the Friarsgate site, especially as it will be years before any development is likely to take place. So, come on, Lichfield Councillors, get your shovels out transform it into a decent park for visitors and residents alike, while we’re waiting.

  2. Monika….you’ve just had a good idea that wouldn’t cost that much and would improve the look and use of the area immensely while a proper long term solution could be planned. Alas this will be ignored and the vile industrial unwelcoming and tacky hoarding will remain in place for the next 15 years. Welcome to Lichfield

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