Paul Mitchell of Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, says add up real cost of Grid development (From Hereford Times)
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Paul Mitchell of Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, says add up real cost of Grid development
8:00am Monday 4th June 2012 in Letters
I REFER to the Herefordshire Council leader’s claim (Readers’ Times, April 5) that the council commitments to the Edgar Street Grid development offers best value for money to the council tax payer.
In the interests of openness, transparency and accountability I would call upon the council to substantiate this claim by providing public disclosure of the full anticipated financial value of all public spend and assets provided to this commercial development, together with the associated benefits and the value of financial returns which are provided from this scheme to the public in return. Including: * Cost of all works provided from the public purse in enabling the ESGD (including link road and reprovision of public and private facilities displaced by it – livestock market, police HQ etc).
* Cost of all associated compensations arising to the public purse to make the ESGD site available to the developer.
* Value of assets provided to the scheme by the council or other public body in making the ESGD site available to the developer or reprovision of any displaced facilities.
* Cost of all financing debt and of council funding reserves used to support this scheme.
* Cost to completion of publicly funded resources to enable council support for this scheme.
* Cost of all provisions for anticipated risk to the public purse.
* All income arising from the scheme to the benefit of the public purse including rates, rents or other ongoing returns arising from allocation of all public costs and assets provide to the scheme.
* Any other capital or income arising from the development to the benefit of the public purse.
* Anticipated net impact upon the council tax payer levy of the whole scheme described above.
The enabling infrastructure and site provision should be funded by the developer, but in this instance are being provided/paid for by the council tax payer.
I would suggest this is likely to cost £70 million to £100m in total (£30m link road, £40m re-provided market, police HQ and other compensations and £30m ESG site value). In the absence of any return this would equate to a £100-£150 increase in council tax levy to every household in the county or corresponding displaced provision or savings from elsewhere in the council budget.
The value of benefits provided to the public for this scheme are not readily evident, having not been disclosed by the council. The only receipt disclosed by the council is £2.5m in rates.
This on its own represents potentially a woefully poor return on public spend and assets and is unlikely to fund long-term financing costs, never mind ever actually paying back monies and assets allocated from the public purse.
Given the public concern over detriment to other spending priorities, the council should now demonstrate its justification of this decision priority for this scheme by way of comparative assessment of alternative new development, maintenance and other operational spend options competing for use of this public money.
PAUL MITCHELL, Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire.
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