Jake has previously condemned the Labour-led Council’s plans to ditch the redevelopment of the swimming pool at Haslingden in favour of purchasing the Valley Centre from Ashcap.
A new swimming pool was to be the final piece in leisure redevelopment that has taken place in the borough. But Labour councillors have decided that property speculation in the Valley Centre would be a better use of the funds that have been raised for the pool.
That is not the end of the controversy however. The council’s former finance chief, Bob Wilkinson, has admitted to the Rossendale Free Press that he did not personally see a site valuation before agreeing the price, but relied on officers who assured him it was value for money. Jake Berry was astonished at this revelation as the price agreed was £2.1m and some estimates valued the site at as little as £500,000.
Jake commented:‘I think this admission shows a shocking lack of judgement and scant regard for local taxpayers’ economic circumstances. When ordinary folk have to watch every penny to ensure that they stick to their budgets, it is striking that someone elected to ensure financial diligence in the Council cannot even be bothered to check the valuation of a major purchase.’