The Council Duty Of Best Value for Liverpool

But might that be the “council duty of worst value” for West Lancashire Borough Council and its Beacon Park Golf Course landfill royalties “for everyone but council tax payers” outcome?

In the Liverpool report reference is made to the Allerton Golf Course.

“Securing LCC’s best interests were not on the agenda. When officers tried to resist, implied threats were employed. The Allerton Golf Course lease extension is a good case in point.

“Valuation of golf course interests are very difficult. There are few comparables, and most valuers do not have sufficient experience to be able to properly certify a valuation. For this deal LCC employed CBRE who have sufficient specialist experience to undertake this commission. For the proposed lease extension and redevelopment of the clubhouse and site. CBRE prepared a full valuation appraisal on a capital premium basis.

“Subsequently, LCC at service Director level decided that an income stream was preferable. Negotiations were commenced to convert the deal into that format. This led to a number of clauses being promoted to LCC that significantly disadvantaged the Council. When these were challenged, the solicitor acting for the proposed lessee made it clear that if terms were not agreed the delay and blockage would be raised the next day at a lunch that the developer was holding with the Mayor and the Director. It was seen by both the LCC’s retained solicitors and the client officers to whom this correspondence was copied as an implied threat. No records exist showing the declaration of this alleged hospitality. LCC conceded the point to let the deal go through.

“More often than coincidence would allow, the person/company who was found at that point to have acquired the lease was drawn from a very restricted pool”.

And we do know this, from a Liverpool City Council Freedom of Information request

that disclosed an operating lease to a private company for an annual rental payable to the Council of £60,000 + annual RPIX increases. Glendale Golf Limited, based in Chorley, was approved. It has links to Parkwood Holdings Limited, an active company incorporated on 23 July 1992 with the registered office also located in Chorley, Lancashire.

We hope to see Max Caller and his team inspecting the Beacon Park Golf Course worst value soon!

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