Bassetlaw District Council extends loan to company it has shares in to build housing development in Harworth

Bassetlaw District Council has extended a loan in a housing development company it has a share in.

Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 3:10 pm

A loan extension has been granted to Bersahill Ltd, despite a group of councillors asking the decision to be “called-in” and looked at again.

The extension was granted on previously agreed terms, which saw an initial investment in December 2018 to fund the development of Madison Court, in Common Lane, Harworth.

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Bassetlaw District Council has implemented a loan extension.

The 26-home development is estimated to be completed by February 2023, however, due to ‘a number of delays’ experienced, councillors were told the income received from sales would be delayed without additional investment.

The investment to Bersahill, in which Bassetlaw District Council has a 50 per cent share, will enable the development to progress and provide the council with a greater return.

However, a group of councillors, including Mike Introna and Lewis Stannilad, requested the decision be called-in at the council’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting on April 11.

The application for a call-in questioned the decision “given that the monies involved are public monies.”

After hearing from the council’s solicitor regarding the financial details and legal advice, the committee voted in favour of not calling-in the decision. It was agreed the loan extension was to be implemented immediately, with the item ruled confidential to protect commercially sensitive information.

Coun Stanniland said: “As much as possible, decisions over public money should be made in public and be on the record for the public to see.

“Without transparency there can be no accountability and without that, we cease to have a functioning democracy.”

He added: “I think there is huge public interest in Bassetlaw over how the council has spent our money.

“I continue to call on the council to publish this information.”

David Hill, director of Corporate Resources at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “An extension of a commercial loan on previously agreed terms has been made to Bersahill Ltd, providing the council with a greater return than it would receive from existing investments.”

The council said any arrangements between it and Bersahill are done on a commercial basis in order to generate income for the council and deliver new homes.

It added that the company is based on the Government’s own model for funding housing developers and operates in line with established practice from across the country.