Last week the council’s cabinet voted to approve the business case for Princes Parade despite the fact that the officer’s report was clear that the financial estimates in the confidential information were just indicative and that the project was based on a number of assumptions and carries a number of risks.
This Wednesday, the full council was asked to approve the £33m Medium Term Capital Programme to 2023/4. This includes £29m for the Princes Parade project.
Those councillors who are not Cabinet members and not members of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee will not have seen the confidential papers and yet only one councillor bothered to speak about this item. Well done Susie Govett. The Programme was approved 22 for, 3 against.
With a Conservative majority on the council it was too much to hope that the council would vote against this but surely there should have been some debate before it went to the vote?
We do of course appreciate that this is not a £29m cost to the council because they are hoping to recoup most of the money in capital receipts but as we have been saying all along if the council’s consultants have overestimated the value of the land to be sold or underestimated the costs of preparing the site and building the leisure centre it is the council tax payer who will bear the loss. Should councils be taking these sorts of risks?
You can watch this part of the council meeting on this link: https://folkestone-hythe.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/392559