Transforming Telford wasting money again

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

About a year ago, Transforming Telford was officially launched for the first time.  I say first time because they’ve been officially launched at least twice under the name Transforming Telford and once under the name Telford First.

The company, Transforming Telford, is another one of these taxpayer-funded, unelected quangos put in place to ensure that public money can be spent without the usual problems of accountability or transparency and without having to worry about voters.  This one is no exception.

Whilst running as a shadow company it managed to spend £1.3m of taxpayers money.  It has a board of ten – the Chief Executive of Telford & Wrekin Council, the Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and another eight members from the private sector.  Only the Leader of T&WC can be held to account at the balot box.

Transforming Telford was set up in conjunction with the equally unelected regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, to bring investment and regeneration to Telford.  It joins a seemingly endless string of regeneration and investment quangos dipping into the same pot of money, wasting increasing amounts of taxpayers money bidding against each other for funding.

Transforming Telford’s first big piece of work has been planning the redevelopment of Telford Town Centre.  As a new town, Telford Town Centre differs from most other towns and cities in that the town centre is entirely artifically constructed and consists of a shopping centre, lesisure and entertainment facilities and that’s it.  No houses, no small shops, no independent retailers – the whole retail area is own by Hark Group and the leisure facilities are owned by Telford & Wrekin Council.

The plans have proven to be unpopular as Transforming Telford sees the town park – a huge park in the centre of the town that was gifted to residents with a covenent securing it for the free us of resident for leisure purposes – as a rather useful plot of building land.  This has met with opposition from residents with a local referendum being held in one neighbouring parish a couple of days ago resulting in overwhelming opposition to any development of the town park.

Residents needn’t have worried though.  The owners of the Telford Shopping Centre, Hark Group, have their own plans for redevelopment of the whole area which they own.  It doesn’t involve building on the town park and the plans and work are to be paid for by Hark Group.  Transforming Telford’s plans involved spending millions of pounds of taxpayers money and taking on million of pounds of loans.

So why did Transforming Telford spend taxpayers money on producing plans for the redevelopment of someone elses land when the owners of that land already had their own plans?  A very good question and one which we hope to have an answer to in the very near future.  A Freedom of Information request has been submitted today to try and find out how much taxpayers money has been wasted and why.  We have been reliably informed that Hark Group attempted to engage Transforming Telford in their redevelopment plans but could get them to co-operate.

The new Conservative administration at Telford & Wrekin is no fan of this quango which was set up by the previous Labour administration headed up by Councillor “Concrete” Keith Austin.  We will be pressing Telford & Wrekin Council to launch a full investigation into what we consider misfeasance by Transforming Telford and to withhold further funding until the investigation has been completed.

Technorati Technorati Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.