Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

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An 8-lane 400m running track for £500,000 – without a business plan

by Alan Dean on 31 July, 2017

The Army at Carver Barracks near Saffron Walden wants to create an 8-lane, 500m running track to supplement their existing sporting facilities. These are used at times by members of the public as well as by military personnel.

Last Tuesday the Full Council meeting agreed to make a £500,000 grant towards the new facilities, which will also be available for public use. The grant was approved by a large majority; a handful of Members abstained – the Liberal Democrats present and two Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrat Group was dissatisfied with the meeting paper we had been sent. We tabled an amendment saying that the Council

Is not satisfied with the level of completeness of the report that has been put before it to justify the expenditure by Cabinet.

In particular, the absence of sound, quantified evidence of public demand

and how access to the facility would be managed to maximise the public benefit

should be presented in the form of a business plan.

The amendment was overwhelming rejected; only Janice Loughlin and me voting for it.

The meeting established a group of Members and Officers should now work up an agreement between Uttlesford and the Army to safeguard the taxpayers’ investment. I was added to the negotiation group, which I am doing as Chair of Scrutiny. I started last Thursday by issuing a list of questions with the aim of filling the gaps in knowledge that should have been answered before last Tuesday’s meeting.




4 Responses

  1. Sue Pishop says:

    Please tell me that’s a typo! Half a billion pounds? That’s an awful lot of money, especially when the council is always claiming it’s cash-strapped, despite being financially prudent. Thank you for trying to challenge it. I’m outraged that so much money should be allocated to a project, which is likely to be used by very few people. At the very least, there should have been some kind of consultation for something which I don’t remember being in any election manifesto. I know that lack of leisure facilities in the district has been highlighted as an issue, but surely it would have been better to focus the amenities in existing settlements.

  2. Sue Bishop says:

    Ooops! I meant half a million pounds.

  3. Andrew K says:

    Sue, we could have had some more very good sports and leisure facilities in Saffron Walden had development not been blocked.

  4. Geoff Powers says:

    There is a precedent for ‘sports development’ of this sort, as Cllr Robert Chambers will be able to verify, as it was he who piloted the bowls club ‘project’ through the council in 1995 or thereabouts, in the face of considerable opposition I might add.

    I’m unsure what Andrew Ketteridge is referring to, or what exactly was being ‘blocked’ and by whom. Perhaps he will be able to elucidate.

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