Despite revelations yesterday that senior Councillors have known for at least a year that the planned scheme was “unaffordable”, the Labour Council leadership continues to be in a state of denial.
Meeting minutes revealed that official had blamed “gold plated” building standards for the failure of the project. They had been reluctant to admit the failures because it “could have affected the credibility of the Councils flagship rewiring project”.
The plan had been to keep the mistakes under wraps until after the Council election in May. But sustained questioning by Opposition Councillors, coupled with the need to respond to Freedom of Information requests, finally forced the public admission last month.
They now hope to sell the site (a valuation of £2 million has been put on it) but appear to have already decided that 100 homes will be built there.
Other than the normal planning application consultation, residents will have no opportunity to influence this decision.
The present Council now only has about 6 weeks to run. Hopefully a more enlightened regime will take over after May 7th.
Only then is the real truth about the fiasco – which is set to cost taxpayers around £1 million – likely to emerge.
23 words for £400k and 4 years of misleading public!
Attempts by Westfield Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Waller to bring back proposals for the Lowfields Care Village have been outvoted by 6 votes to 4 at an all-party (Calling In) Committee tonight.
Westfield Labour Councillor Burton voted against the scheme even though this is clearly supported by residents in the Lowfields area who had been led to believe over the last four years that the council was serious about the Care Village Scheme.
The former Lowfield School site has limited access along Dijon Avenue, – admitted by officers tonight – which had been the very reason that a care village for elderly people had been proposed by the previous Lib Dem administration. This would have enabled modern facilities to be provided on this side of the city. Instead a much smaller site on the Oakhaven Home, York Road, will be used. Residents in nearby Gale Farm Court, and Windsor Garth are still unsure what plans the council has for them.
Cllr Andrew Waller said; “I believe that the people of the West of York have been let down by the vote tonight. The Cabinet member even admitted that this was a decision made “behind closed doors” in the summer. I have had to fight to get information which should have been readily available to explain why the council had reached this decision and I will ask for this to be published.”
The Cabinet report which killed off the Care Village gave just 23 words
“ that the procurement exercise was unable to provide a solution that fulfilled the Council’s requirements within the financial resources available to the project.”
This was all the current council thought was needed to explain the spending of £400,000 and why residents feel that they have been misled for four years !
The meeting was very different to the questioning of the £9 million Guildhall Digital Arts Hub where a detailed presentation by a large team including the Council Leader Cllr Williams was used to persuade the Committee with an admission that more information should have been given in Cabinet Reports.
Cllr Waller said “It is clear that the current council has its priorities the wrong way round, and they are using secrecy to get their own way. Residents know that there is only one way in May to reverse this.”