Councillor "stunned" at council's Hewell Road security expenditure

First published in News

A REDDITCH councillor says he is stunned that the council is paying for security on a site which was supposed to have been sold to a development company for £1 six months ago.

At a recent meeting of the council's executive committee, Councillor Brandon Clayton asked why the council is paying for security on the old Hewell Road swimming pool site in Enfield, which it agreed to sell to Redditch Co-operative Homes for £1 last year.

The housing provider beat competition from two other companies to secure the site in order to provide much-needed social housing.

But six months on, and the council is still paying for security on it.

Coun Clayton said: "It is absolutely ridiculous. After charging Redditch Co-operative Homes just £1 for this land so we could get come more much-needed social housing in the town, the council is still paying out.

"At a time when we are doing everything we can to try and save money, I am absolutely stunned at this expenditure."

He said if Redditch Co-operative Homes was no longer in a position to build the properties, the council needed to look at alternatives.

But a council spokesman said although a sale had been agreed, the council did still own the site.

He said: "Investigations need to take place to make sure that this land is in fact suitable for the proposed development, and until that time, the sale cannot take place. As it is still the council's land, we need to pay to keep it secure.

"These investigations are being funded by Redditch Co-operative Homes, and not by the council."

He said the cost of paying for security was £3,000 per year, plus £1,000 for contingencies.

He added that the proposed development now also consisted of some bungalows, which Mr Clayton had called for at the time that bidding was taking place but had been omitted.

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