LETTER: Public money

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Arun District Council’s admission, in response to a recent Freedom of Information request (Gazette, October 29), that it does not know how much public money it spent on the St Modwen regeneration project for Bognor Regis, raises very serious concerns about financial control at the council.

The council signed a £106 million contract with St Modwen for the “regeneration” of two sites in Bognor Regis – it was the biggest public procurement contract the district has ever seen.

Yet the council does not even know details of its expenditure associated with this project.

When terminating the arrangement with St Modwen the council agreed to waive our right to compensation.

It is now clear that our councillors agreed to waive our right to compensation without any detailed knowledge of what had been spent by the council on this project.

St Modwen failed to deliver. So, why did Arun waive our right to compensation?

Without an itemised list of expenditure how could the council properly consider if all or any parts of its expenditure could be recovered in the form of compensation?

My own estimate is that something like £1.2 million of public money was wasted without a single brick being laid.

This is a substantial amount and yet I cannot find any evidence that the council went through a due diligence process before deciding not to seek compensation.

Could it be that councillor Mrs Brown and her council were more interested in avoiding political embarrassment in the run up to the district council elections than in recovering our money?

It’s public money Mrs Brown, not yours, and we want our money back!

Tony Dixon

Barons Close

Westergate

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