Rotten Boroughs Breed Rotten Development Companies?

How many rotten councils have set the example of corruption by their [our] own development companies? We are indebted to Private Eye for its regular briefings.

We recall Northumberland, with its “Arch” development company that developed free accommodation, meals, booze, and a meeting in Cannes. Nearly £250k spent on company credit cards. Arch became Advance Northumberland, in which fraud by use of fake bills and large bank transfers became rampant. It now reports “continuing weaknesses in governance” and the company now owes the council, ie taxpayers, £281million.

Labour Croydon is “Looking for a buyer for Brick by Brick (BxB)” which made the council broke! BxB owed the council £286million, and a likely loss on the sale will be at least £100million.

Tory Cambridgeshire loaned a huge sum to its own wholly owned building company This Land which then could not keep up the loan repayments and didn’t make profits anyway. Solution? Lend the company more money to cover the interest and sell off council land to developers!

Nottingham is infamous for its £1.1billion of debts due to its failed commercial property speculations and its disastrous Robin Hood Energy scheme. A Section 114 notice (bankruptcy) is due soon!

Labour Warrington, with debts of at least £1.6billion was reported to have bought the Bristol Energy (City Council energy) scheme after it went bust! The Warrington Council “Together Energy” saga seems hell bent on Section 114 action!

Labour West Lancashire with its Tawd Valley Developments Ltd

is a minnow by comparison. But already its early losses, £446,606, and more to come before homes are built while its new director is paid circa £100,000 a year, are causing some concerns.

The wholly owned company has a plan to build up to 340 homes over the next 5 years and is already working on plans to build 77 good quality homes in Skelmersdale in the next 12 months, including 48 to be retained by the Council for social housing. The other 29 homes to be sold must put cash in the bank quickly before doubts arise. Quality has costs but pays in the end.

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