Lib Dem Leader Cllr Aspinell seeks urgent recall of full council meeting

January 13, 2014 7:47 PM
Lib Dem councillors with protestors at William Hunter Way

Cllr Barry Aspinell with protesters at William Hunter Way in 2008

WILLIAM HUNTER WAY: POTENTIAL £15M ALTERNATIVE BID REJECTED OUT OF HAND BY TORIES

Cllr Barry Aspinell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats is calling for an emergency meeting at Brentwood Council so that members can be made aware of the alternative proposal to the William Hunter Way development by Aquila, who represent Waitrose and others.

The Stockland deal the Conservatives are unanimously in favour of will realise to the council £7M in rent over a 25 year period, with no rental review or any other add-ons. Compare that to the proposal put forward by Aquila, which would give the council a £6M payment for certain freehold rights, together with an annual payment of £350,000 per year over a similar time frame, with a review process built in. This proposal would give the council some £15M minimum - substantially more than the Stockland deal.

"But this is just one alternative proposal." says Cllr Asinell, "Who knows what could happen if we actually went to tender on this site! I believe we have been hoodwinked and mislead over the true worth of this site to our town for the last eight years.

"This scheme, we are told by the Leader that we cannot walk away from for fear of legal repercussions, was sold to us as the best possible deal for the council. Wrong!

"My colleagues and I protested vehemently at the time that no tender process had been entered into, that no environmental impact study had been carried out, no design consultation with local residents and certainly no consultation borough-wide.

Cllr Barry Aspinell

Cllr Barry Aspinell

"The Aquila proposal, as I understand it, is for a brand new scheme incorporating Waitrose, a Cinema and 600 car parking spaces, plus a town square/piazza element, which could include housing if required, but the most important thing is that we, the councillors, discuss this is open session and with complete honesty, unlike all previous discussions over this deal.

"In the time I have been involved in politics in Brentwood there have been several notable political decisions that have shook the town to its foundations and stand out as questionable at the time which radiated out into the national media, such as the sale of Brentwood Football Club 40 years ago, the Council offices extension 25 years ago, the ring road proposals 23 years ago and the controversy over the proposed demolition of our Town Hall, yet this latest revelation eclipses those previous mishandled projects.

"The time for political partisanship must end and those Conservatives who blindly vote in support of their leadership must now consider a greater and wider responsibility to that of our community."