Confidential document put on council reception wall

Council bosses have launched an inquiry to find out who posted a confidential document about rent negotiations with a country club on the front reception wall – and why it was not spotted for three days.

The briefing paper – concerning the council-owned Barnham Broom complex – was put in a clipframe board in a perspex case next to the main staff entrance at Breckland Council's headquarters in Dereham.

It is thought it was posted last Thursday and was only taken down on Monday after the EDP alerted the council that it was up after we were sent a photograph of it.

Hundreds of people will have walked past the document – which was headed Barnham Broom – over the three days.

The document had been written by a senior council officer for a cabinet member and gave an update on negotiations between Breckland and Barnham Broom over the rent agreement.

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Breckland chief executive Terry Huggins launched the inquiry and said: 'Somebody has done this with some sort of malicious intent.

'As soon as we became aware we took it down immediately and we have launched an internal inquiry which is being conducted by one of our directors. We are considering if we need any specialist help for the inquiry.'

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Mr Huggins added: 'I am disappointed that this has happened and we will conduct the inquiry vigorously to determine who was responsible.

'If anyone is able to identify the person or persons responsible we will take the strongest action.'

He had to phone senior management at Barnham Broom to alert them to what had happened.

Council leader William Nunn said he was 'saddened' by what had happened and he added that a 'positive good news story' was likely once the negotiations were complete.

These, he said, would see more investment in the Barnham Broom complex.

'Somebody has come in to our building and taken documents. I would like to think we have an open environment where we can work freely and we can trust everyone.

'We will do everything we can to find out who has done this.'

Breckland bought the complex for �8m several years ago as an investment and a rent level was agreed with Barnham Broom.

It has never been made public but the council has always insisted it is above the rate which they would get in a bank.

When it completed the deal, Breckland paid the owners �7m.

The other �1m was kept back at the time with the intention of it being added to towards �2.5m investment by Barnham Broom on an expansion.

But when the economic conditions changed, the investment was put on hold and the �1m has been used to meet a shortfall in rent.

Barnham Broom did not want to comment on the issue.

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