Northern Gateway Leisure Park: Lib-dem administration holds Northern Gateway financial changes secret

The development of the Northern Gateway leisure scheme includes a new cinema and hotel, and several fast-food outlets. It is being financed via a set of complex related deals between the Council, Canada Life Assurance Company, and the developer Turnstone Estates Limited.

Cllr William Sunnucks, Conservative Spokesman on Council resources, explains: "In fact the deal is so complex it is believed to be delaying the audit of the Council’s Financial accounts, necessitating advice from external financial consultants at considerable expense to Council Tax Payers.

In a recent secret meeting of the City Council’s Controlling Cabinet (exclusively Lib-Dem Councillors) the leisure park Development Agreement was modified.  The opposition Conservative group has not been allowed to see the legal report we have asked for, nor has it seen the financial appraisals or valuations. There is no good reason for this, especially as we have relevant expertise within our ranks.

It is now clear that this is a £65m loan masquerading as a lease, and it will have to be treated as such in the accounts.  We see few benefits arising from the complexity and believe it is a mistake for Councils to enter into transactions which few Councillors understand."

The Conservative Group considers that secret modifications significantly increases the risk to the City’s taxpayers. But we are prohibited by the Council rules from telling you how or why !!!!