Council that lost £500k on EcoCube admits ‘fault line’ ran through project
PUBLISHED: 19:36 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:36 30 June 2020
A Norfolk council that gave away the lease of a £500,000 EcoCube for nothing has admitted a “fault line” ran through the project.
Broadland Council said processes were in place to ensure mistakes could not be repeated and the loss “should never have happened”.
The council spent £340,000 leasing The Cube, an eco-centre in Rackheath, in 2012 with a further £160,000 spent on associated costs.
Now Stuart Clancy, former cabinet member for economic development, has appeared before the reconvened panel - which concluded no more action should be taken over the loss of the lease.
A report on the findings said the panel met on March 10, 2020 and heard Mr Clancy was confident in advice given to him by officers.
A member of the panel said the project was “suboptimal” but that “lessons had been learned”.
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It stated: “The panel took the view that there was a fault line that ran through the project.”
It was thought the property would be owned by the council when agreeing the lease, but the panel was confident it had identified the governance issue which had led to this.
At a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee, held on Tuesday, June 30, Grant Nurden, chair of the panel, said: “No further action was needed.”
But Sue Catchpole, Liberal Democrat councillor for Aylsham, said: “When that councillor was asked if he had his time again would he do the same thing again or would he do things differently, he was reassuring us he would do differently.
“I just felt that was missing from this report.”
Stuart Beadle, Liberal Democrat member for Reepham, said: “I’m amazed that it ever could happen. There was a fault line that ran through the project and a lack of governance that allowed this failure to happen.”
Peter Bulman, the Conservative member for Great Witchingham, added: “I don’t see any purpose in going over old ground.”
And monitoring officer Emma Hodds said: “There were a raft of recommendations that came out and are part of processes now.
“I completely agree this should not have happened when it did but these are in place now.”
The committee unanimously voted to note the report’s findings.
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