Claims Lyme Green scan­dal could cost £3m

Macclesfield Express - - NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST - ALEX HIB­BERT

PO­LIT­I­CAL fig­ures have blasted the coun­cil for spend­ing a ‘scan­dalous’ amount of money on the Lyme Green fi­asco.

Cheshire East’s Labour group say the to­tal amount spent on the botched bid to build a waste trans­fer sta­tion and its af­ter­math is now near­ing £3mil­lion.

The coun­cil paid £800k to con­trac­tors for work done be­fore per­mis­sion had been granted at Lyme Green and a fur­ther £225k for a DIP (des­ig­nated in­de­pen­dent per­son) to com­pile a re­port into what went wrong.

But the Labour group claims the coun­cil also spent £1,677k to a pri­vate con­trac­tor to sort waste from its sil­ver bins from when the scan­dal broke in Novem­ber 2011 un­til Jan­uary 2015. They say this means the to­tal cost of the saga to date stands at £2.7m.

But coun­cil leader Michael Jones re­futes the fig­ures, say­ing the Labour group has failed to take sav­ings into ac­count.

Tim Roca, Labour’s prospec­tive par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for Mac­cles­field, said: “As the coun­cil still has to pay a pri­vate con­trac­tor for a tem­po­rary waste fa­cil­ity, the fi­nal cost of Lyme Green could top £3mil­lion.

“There has been a scan­dalous waste of pub­lic money; a fail­ure of lead­er­ship to find a new site for waste trans­fer; and a cul­ture of se­crecy that has sought to pre­vent the pub­lic see­ing a re­port paid for by pub­lic money re­veal­ing how pub­lic money was wasted.”

Last month Cheshire East agreed to let all its 82 coun­cil­lors read the DIP re­port in full – on con­di­tion its con­tents were not re­leased to the pub­lic.

But Labour Group’s fi­nance spokesman, Coun Sam Cor­co­ran, is call­ing on all coun­cil­lors named in the re­port to vol­un­tar­ily re­quest that sec­tions re­lat­ing to their con­duct be re­leased.

That ap­peal comes as the coun­cil an­nounced its plans to build a new waste fa­cil­ity in Mid­dlewich.

The £2.4m plot will be­come the bor­ough’s main re­cy­cling cen­tre and new head­quar­ters for Ansa En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices, the coun­cil’s op­er­at­ing company for re­cy­cling and streetscape ser­vices.

At a full coun­cil meet­ing last month, Coun Cor­co­ran said: “agree with the

Ijudge’s ar­gu­ment, that if the full re­port were re­leased it would make any fu­ture DIP in­ves­ti­ga­tions more dif­fi­cult be­cause of­fi­cers would be ret­i­cent in speak­ing con­fi­den­tially.”

Coun Michael Jones said the fig­ures are wrong.

He said: “The cost of Lyme Green is not ris­ing. The Labour party has not taken into ac­count the cost of the coun­cil run­ning the ser­vice it­self, they have not de­ducted that from the to­tal. In fact we saved £1.2m on waste last year.

“They keep al­lud­ing to the fact that was in charge of fi­nances when de­ci­sions were made to go ahead with build­ing works at Lyme Green but that is sim­ply not true. I was put in charge in early Oc­to­ber, and those de­ci­sions had al­ready been made. The only time am men­tioned in the DIP’s re­port is to state that signed a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment by the DIP him­self. an­nounced that all elected coun­cil­lors can read the DIP’s re­port at full coun­cil and stand by that.”

IIIII

● The Lyme Green can­dal re­port

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