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Scrutiny of Ravens Ait Sell-Off!

February 27, 2010

After the Lib Dem Executive’s recent decision to dispose of Ravens Ait, the Conservative-run Scrutiny Panel has declared its intention to call-in and examine the process.

At last week’s Executive meeting, it was announced that council officers were to be authorised and instructed to complete the matter as soon as possible, by leasing the property, with vacant possession, to Stewart Marine who run Hart’s Boatyard opposite the island.

This comes on the back of a botched deal, dating back to November last year, when local hotel chain Hotel Antoinette reduced its original offer then backtracked on the revised amount and offered a sum significantly below the lowest bid received when the island was first marketed.

The Scrutiny Panel will look into the disposal process used by RBK, question whether the Executive considered relocating the popular Albany Park & Sailing Centre to the island, review the island’s proposed use, and, crucially, scrutinise the process which resulted in the Executive accepting a lower financial offer than many received from some of the interested parties.

The Panel will issue the call-in on the basis that the papers circulated at the Executive lacked the required detail on which a decision of such importance would be made. The island is an asset owned by the residents of the Borough and it is essential, in the interests of transparency, to ensure the very best of value is achieved, both financially and in terms of community-benefit.

Nick Kilby said ‘I would question whether we have done all we could to explore the opportunities. If the whole package has this level of community use then it is a very different financial deal than what was proposed originally.’

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