Wednesday, 24th September 2014

Councillors ‘unaware’ of costs clause

There is ‘no way’ councillors would have voted through the controversial Veolia waste contract had they known about a legal clause that has ended up costing Shropshire Council more than £750,000, it has been claimed.

Councillor Jon Tandy, who voted against the 27-year PFI deal in 2007, said councillors were unaware of a clause that allowed Veolia to claim 90 per cent of its legal costs from the authority for a planning appeal into an incinerator it planned to build at Battlefield Enterprise Park.

Shropshire councillors had unanimously rejected the plans for the burner in September 2010. But because council officials had agreed to fund 90 per cent of any appeal, taxpayers now face a bill of £824,379 – made up of a payment of £759,505 to Veolia and the council’s own legal costs of £64,874.

Councillor Tandy said that a report by council officers into the proposed deal that was presented to councillors behind closed doors did not provide them with full details.

He added that councillors would have insisted the 90 per cent clause be removed had they been aware of it.

“There was no way any councillor would have voted for that. We weren’t told. Really, we were reading a paper that didn’t tell us the facts,” he said.

“All we were told is the fact this facility would be good for Shrewsbury.”