North Lincolnshire

Call for inquiry into council’s rejected £4m bid for Broughton land

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Labour councillors on North Lincolnshire Council will call for an inquiry into the the authority’s attempted £4 million purchase of 500 acres of land near the M180.

But the ruling Conservative group have said that the negotiations were transparent.

It comes as the council tried to buy the land known as Vale Farm in Broughton in September 2017.

The site sits between Forest Pines roundabout and Scawby crossroads.

A plan was proposed to build 140 affordable homes on the site and create 250 jobs as part of the purchase.

However, the council had a revised offer rejected by owners Jerry Green Dog Rescue in December 2017.

Opposition councillors raised concerns over the transparency of the negotiations.

Leader of the Labour group, Councillor Len Foster, will put forward a motion to launch an independent inquiry at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council on April 20.

“We think it is the only way we will able to receive any information,” he said.

“The freedom of information request we had back was redacted and we have tried every process we can and have been stopped.

“There is a smoke screen being developed around the whole thing.”

Councillor Foster will call for the report from the inquiry to be presented at a full council meeting should the motion be passed.

But council leader, Councillor Rob Waltham, will table an amendment asking for opposition councillors to acknowledge the transparent work of the attempted purchase.

The amendment says: “‘This council acknowledges the formal and transparent processes followed under commercial constraints when seeking to acquire any assets in order to secure jobs, homes and leisure opportunities for the residents of North Lincolnshire.

“Moreover, this Council calls upon the Labour councillors of North Lincolnshire to acknowledge the open and professional approach taken by the council and its agents to the negotiations and deliberations in relation to the proposed acquisition of Vale Farm, Broughton, and to condemn any third party involvement that may have sought to prejudice the purchase of this land for the benefit of the residents of North Lincolnshire.”