Claims Lyme Green scandal could cost £3m
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.”
● The Lyme Green candal report