I am grateful to the many people who have contacted me about the council ballooning spending on Bootle Strand, in particular Tony Robertson (and via him Roy Connell) and Graham Winkles all of whom have brought to my attention new pieces of information
Look around are there not more important things for Sefton to spend your Council Tax money on? Social Care, pot holes and road maintenance, our parks and libraries (if they haven’t already been shut) all need investment but we are constantly told there is no money and yet it seems there is always money for this pet project of property speculation.
After spending over £32million pound buying The Strand shopping centre local people are having to foot the large bills for major repairs.
Bootle Labour party have been peddling the line that this project is ‘fully funded’ because the Council has borrowed the money. This turns out not to be true.
Firstly, anyone who has taken out a mortgage knows that such a loan may fund the purchase of a property but that loans repayments cost you. Saying it is fully funded is misleading.
Secondly additional expenditure is now being revealed that Sefton Council taxpayers are going to have to fund. £307,000 on structural works following the collapse of part of the roof structure in the T J Hughes store and now an extra £3.115m on "General works to improve the customer experience” In addition to at least £700,000 they have spent on professional advisers (see: https://birkdalefocus.blogspot.com/2017/11/sefton-council-leader-should-come-clean.html )
If these costs were known about at the time of the purchase then they should have been revealed rather that asserting that the loan was fully funding the project. If they were not known, no wonder the offshore company, via which The Strand was sold, were so keen to offload it. They must be laughing all the way to the bank with Sefton Council tax payers’ money.
I am very uncomfortable with the Council becoming involved with multi million-pound property speculation. Many experts have question the financial sense of this project. Sefton Council became the butt of jokes on the satirical TV quiz show ‘Have I got news for you’ and major national newspapers joined in the criticism. Given that nigh on £3/4million was spent on professional advisers one would have hoped these cost would have been revealed at the time. It is alleged that the council knew about the repairs needed in March and buried the information until after the local election...….