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Why don't the Tories want to learn from Crescent Gardens failed sale?

April 18, 2019 6:19 PM
The Harrogate & Knaresborough Lib Dems are not backing down in our call for an investigation into the failed sale of Crescent Gardens.
Writing in this week's Harrogate Advertiser, Cllr Pat Marsh said:
Pat Marsh (Pat Marsh/HBC)
"As you will have seen from the reports and comments in your newspaper last week the Lib Dems have asked for an inquiry into the second failed sale of the Council Offices at Crescent Gardens. This has to be done before there are any further attempts to sell that much loved building.
This is about learning from the past 5 years on how we have arrived at 2019 without the building being sold. The owners of the building, the residents of this district need confidence that if their asset is brought to the market again that due diligence has been undertaken and best value achieved for such a prestigious building. Lessons have to be learnt because a third failure would be totally unacceptable.
However, despite raising this issue at the last full Council meeting, the Conservative administration has refused to undertake such a procedure and I am bemused as to why they wouldn't want to learn from the past 5 years. What are they worried about? This is not a blame game but about discovering whether anything went wrong and making sure that if there have been any mistakes that they do not occur a third time. We were also extremely disappointed that at that meeting the opportunity to brief all Councillors on the issue was missed, all Councillors should have been updated, they are, after all, the custodians of Crescent Gardens on behalf of those who voted for them.
We Lib Dems were involved in the decision process and are keen to make sure that the advice given to us during that process was the best and if not then what can be done differently a third time round. We also want to have confidence that as the third process is undertaken the advice given to Councillors has had due diligence applied so that all Councillors can make the decision, on this very important issue, with confidence.
We Lib Dems would also like to see, as we go down this path of a third sale or scheme, that a more Community led approach is adopted. Our option for the building would be the retention of the central part of the building to be developed into a Community space such as an art gallery or a museum to display our civic collection. Creating a space to display the history of our town and district for both residents and visitors alike, we should be proud of our past, present and future. The two wings could then be developed into apartments either by a developer or by the Council or a mixture of both.
Our plea is that the Council takes a step back assesses what our residents want from this, their building, learns from any mistakes or good practice that might have been made in the past and takes the right decisions on the sale and the future of our Town Hall."
Advertiser: Crescent Gardens