How Argyll & Bute works: Castle Toward: Michael Russell’s questions and more

Some of you may have seen Michael Russell’s list of 10 questions to the chief executive of the council. In case you didn’t, here they are:

The questions asked by Mr Russell are as follows:

1) When did the prospective purchasers first approach the Council ?

2) What discussions did the Council have with the prospective purchasers prior to the end of the Community Bid in February?

3) Did any Councillor or official name the prospective purchasers and their company tor councillors in  January and/or February when asked about alternative bids should the community bid fail ?

4) Why did the leader of the Council affirm at the time of the community bid that the property would not be sold for less than the valuation when the property is now being sold for less than the valuation?

5) Given that the purchase price of £1.51 million is divided into three parts, the first of which (£1.1 million) is due on the 30th of September will the council confirm that it did not offer the community a chance to match that price and why it did not do so ?

6) Will the Council confirm the total cost to the Council since the failed community purchase concluded regarding security and maintenance up to 30th September and indicate how far ,if at all, that sum added to the community offer made in February differs from the sum due on 30th September.

7) Will the Council publish the terms under which the balance of the purchase price will be due and indicate what the Council will have to do to secure that balance and within what timescale.

8) Will the Council indicate what due diligence was undertaken on the bid from the prospective purchasers and in particular what assurances and guarantees were given regarding the eventual expenditure of £28 million on developing the site as estimated by the developers and quoted in the report to the Council?

9) Will the Council indicate what advice was given to Councillors regarding the sources of funding for the bid by the prospective purchasers given that , for the community bid, much adverse comment was made by officials regarding the communities heavy dependence on public funds ?

10) What external assessment of the bid by the prospective purchasers was either offered by the developers or sought by the Council  given that the community bid was positively assessed by HIE , the Scottish Government and the Scottish Land Fund ?

I have also asked some questions but I am unable to give all of the detail since the paper that was the basis for the approval of the sale was an exempt item. However, I can paraphrase what  I asked an officer of the council, as follows:

What due diligence was carried out to ensure that the purchasers have the means, financial and otherwise, to complete the purchase and fulfil the plans for the estate?

In particular, what was the breakdown of the jobs they say will be created, ie how many and from which parts of the proposed business?

I asked these on 29 June. I had no reply so asked again on 7 July. Today I was told I could not be told anything due to the confidentiality clause that appears to be in place. So much for the local ward councillor knowing what the council has done about the sale of a major asset in his own ward. The secrecy in this council is beyond belief.

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

One thought on “How Argyll & Bute works: Castle Toward: Michael Russell’s questions and more”

  1. I’ve calculated the cost to end Sept of maintainence & security at £800 a day and the SCCDC bid to total £1.034,000 .

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