£500,000 of taxpayers' money in flawed LRIE project.
For some years West Berks Council has been trying to regenerate Newbury’s London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) and this month the council have finally revealed £5,665,181.08 of public money has been spent on the project to date. Investing in West Berkshire's towns to create new homes, and develop employment opportunities is a good thing, but the way this has been handled by the current council has meant all West Berks taxpayers have had to foot the bill.
The council claim most of the money has come from government grants and other contributors. However, it has now been revealed that, at the very least, £523,000 of West Berkshire taxpayers’ money has been thrown at the scheme.
This project has been full of calamity with £109,000 being spent on entering into an agreement with a private developer that has since been ruled unlawful and spending £363,545 on defending itself against a legal challenge that it has ultimately lost.
The Liberal Democrats have asked the Conservative-run Council to explain how it could spend over £350,000 on a legal case which it lost, especially in a year when it announced it is cutting funding to vital services for the elderly and vulnerable in a bid to save £295,000.
We are committed to finding out the truth behind the incompetent decisions that led to such a waste of money as we care about how our taxpayers’ money in being used, when there are so many other priorities that we could be investing in.
We want to know what you think the council should be funding, so please let us know using our contact page.
We look forward to hearing from you and we will, as always, report back in the regular Focus newsletter and here on our website.