SNP fail iw bil to vake Cross sale ‘rreew paper’ itev public
The SNP group on Angus Council narrowly failed yesterday in a bid to make details of a property transaction public.
The sale of historical council buildings that were at the centre of a Forfar “superpub” debacle four years ago were eventually discussed in private following a tense vote at the policy and resources committee.
The Cross in the heart of Forfar is one of a number of surplus council buildings the local authority has been struggling to sell without success for a number of years.
The so-called green paperexempt items are understood to have detailed the proposed sale of council offices at the Cross to Voluntary Action Angus (VAA) in a private deal.
Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said the sale was of public interest and added that details of the buyer had already been leaked and appeared in Saturday’s Courier.
Council leader Bob Myles said it would be “absolutely wrong” to hold the discussion in public and could have a negative impact on any potential sale.
Council officers said they would be put “in a very difficult position” if discussions took place in public.
Carnoustie Independent councillor Brian Boyd appealed for transparency and backed the SNP stance – stating that going down the route of holding discussions privately “didn’t do any good four years ago”.
In 2014 pub giant JD Wetherspoon had the buildings in its sights for a second Angus outlet.
The firm backed out of a sixfigure deal after a storm of controversy over a planned closed doors deal between the authority and the hospitality giant.
Mr Duff’s amendment for the private discussion to be made public was seconded by Arbroath SNP colleague Alex King.
However, the motion by Mr Myles to go ahead in private as planned went through by one vote.
Councillors also agreed to a £95,000 service level agreement with VAA to support its work in the third sector.