Where Is The Pow Beck Report?
In January, I submitted a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to Copeland Borough Council (CBC) asking that they release a report into the collapse of the £5.5m Pow Beck Stadium development. Consultant, Mr Rob Blanden had compiled the report.
Following disclosure of the reports existence, a large number of Councillors have been denied access to view it. To date, the report has been hidden from view, for approximately one-year. To treat the public and our democratically elected representatives in this manner is appalling.
The reason given by CBC for denying the FOI was that it was of a “controversial nature” and in “draft.” On March 10, in the Whitehaven News, Mr Paul Walker, CBC’s Chief Executive, declared that the report was “incomplete.”
Recently, I submitted another FOI to CBC, requesting that they disclose the details of consultants that they have engaged with, from January 1, through to April 1. Mr Blanden, and his company, were not on the list provided.
Therefore, could CBC please explain how can the “controversial” Pow Beck report be in “draft” or “incomplete” if the consultant is no longer engaged in work for them?
How often does CBC pay for incomplete work? Is this simply a case of certain elements within the CBC hierarchy not being happy with the report, and pulling it prior to publication? Or could it be that CBC has employed someone else to change the original report, because it was too “controversial” for public consumption?
Mr Walker declared through the pages of the Whitehaven News (March 10) that the Pow Beck report would be made available this summer. Midsummer’s day passed four weeks ago. How much longer do the public and our councillors have to wait until the promised report is published?
It has been over two years since the proposed development collapsed, and we are no closer to hearing what happened.
On April 26 2012, Jamie Reed MP launched a blistering attack upon the Pow Beck scheme, calling it a “humiliating shambles.” He also said: “there’s no place for amateurism in the development of west Cumbria. Those not up to it should get out of the way and leave it to those who know how to do it.”
I agree with Mr Reed.