Costly Cornish harbour project

August 22, 2012 1:22 PM

Cornish TPA supporter David Thomas draws our attention to a potentially major misuse of taxpayers’ money in Falmouth. Cornwall Council wishes to fund the dredging of a new channel in Falmouth Harbour. So far, £12m of taxpayers’ money has already been set aside, but the total cost could reach £23m. The main beneficiaries of the dredging will be the ship repair and marine services company A&P Falmouth, part owned by the Peel Group.

‘Peel Group are the largest property investment company in the UK,’ says Thomas. ‘They have assets close to £6 billion, over £12,000 for every council taxpayer in Cornwall. They will not pay for the dredging to aid their own company, but that company expects each of those Council taxpayers of Cornwall to cough up around £100 to help A&P.’

Previously, the South West Regional Development Agency withdrew their funding on the grounds that it did not represent value for money. European Regional Development Funding cannot be deployed either as it breaches EU rules on state aid.

‘This proposal has been promoted by just a handful of councillors,’ continues Thomas, ‘all from the Falmouth area and the majority of councillors are totally unaware of the proposals. Whichever way they dress this up the £23m is Cornish council taxpayers’ money, which does not belong to that handful of councillors. They are merely the custodians of our money and their job is to look after our money by spending it for the benefit of all of the people of Cornwall, not just one wealthy private company.’

So far, the local media has failed to draw attention to the potential cost to the taxpayer of this project, preferring to concentrate on the debate between the proponents of the dredging and environmental concerns. Thomas is seeking to change this with a series of interviews on TV and radio, highlighting the enormous cost to council taxpayers.

Thomas and his supporters have started an online petition on Cornwall Council’s website and this is being backed up with a paper petition. Five thousand signatures of local residents will trigger a full council debate. There is also a Facebook page:  Falmouth Bay and Harbour Action.Cornish TPA supporter David Thomas draws our attention to a potentially major misuse of taxpayers’ money in Falmouth. Cornwall Council wishes to fund the dredging of a new channel in Falmouth Harbour. So far, £12m of taxpayers’ money has already been set aside, but the total cost could reach £23m. The main beneficiaries of the dredging will be the ship repair and marine services company A&P Falmouth, part owned by the Peel Group.

‘Peel Group are the largest property investment company in the UK,’ says Thomas. ‘They have assets close to £6 billion, over £12,000 for every council taxpayer in Cornwall. They will not pay for the dredging to aid their own company, but that company expects each of those Council taxpayers of Cornwall to cough up around £100 to help A&P.’

Previously, the South West Regional Development Agency withdrew their funding on the grounds that it did not represent value for money. European Regional Development Funding cannot be deployed either as it breaches EU rules on state aid.

‘This proposal has been promoted by just a handful of councillors,’ continues Thomas, ‘all from the Falmouth area and the majority of councillors are totally unaware of the proposals. Whichever way they dress this up the £23m is Cornish council taxpayers’ money, which does not belong to that handful of councillors. They are merely the custodians of our money and their job is to look after our money by spending it for the benefit of all of the people of Cornwall, not just one wealthy private company.’

So far, the local media has failed to draw attention to the potential cost to the taxpayer of this project, preferring to concentrate on the debate between the proponents of the dredging and environmental concerns. Thomas is seeking to change this with a series of interviews on TV and radio, highlighting the enormous cost to council taxpayers.

Thomas and his supporters have started an online petition on Cornwall Council’s website and this is being backed up with a paper petition. Five thousand signatures of local residents will trigger a full council debate. There is also a Facebook page:  Falmouth Bay and Harbour Action.

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