Posted: Thu 20th Jun 2019

Connah’s Quay Town Council sets date for ‘special meeting’ to consider critical report into £230,000 Quay Café losses

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 20th, 2019

Councillors will ‘consider’ a critical report by the Auditor General For Wales into nearly a quarter of million-pound in losses incurred by Connah’s Quay Town Council at a ‘special meeting’ next month.

The report published by Wales Audit Office on Tuesday highlights failures by Connah’s Quay Town Council which resulted in a cumulative loss of £234,000 due to its running of the Quay Café on Fron Road.

It states the council did not give due consideration as to what powers it had to open Quay Café, the decision, back in 2011 was based on a poorly prepared business plan, and as a result, the decision to open the café was unlawful.

The report notes: “In order to balance its finances, these losses have been met by the Council setting a higher precept than it would otherwise have needed to set.

This has resulted in increased council tax charges to residents of Connah’s Quay.”

The report makes three clear recommendations for the council and these are:

– To undertake a full option appraisal for the operation of Quay Café, incorporating a full financial appraisal of each option;
– To ensure appropriate advice is received prior to making decisions on the provision of new or novel services;
– To review the services it provides and ensure that it understands the statutory basis on which it provides those services.

The report also notes that: “While the Council is now able to apply its wellbeing powers to operate the Quay Café, when it made its decision to open and operate a café (in 2011) it did not have statutory authority to do so.”

Adrian Crompton said today: “Given the scale of the deficit incurred at Connah’s Quay Town Council, I believe it is important that the public has a full and proper awareness of the events concerning the Council.

When it opened the café, the Council did not have the statutory authority to do so and its decision was not supported by a clear and coherent business plan. As a result the decision was, in my view, unlawful.”

The term unlawful in the case of the Quay Café does not mean it was criminal, it refers to the fact that the council lacked statutory authority to establish the cafe.

The WAO said it is not reporting that anyone acted dishonestly and abused their position.

At the Special Meeting on  July 2, which is open to the public, town councillors will discuss the outcome of the report and whether to accept the three recommendations.

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