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Scrutiny debate into £500,000 for ESG confirmed
A scrutiny committee will debate the decision by Herefordshire Council's cabinet to pay £500,000 to British Land - funding partner in Hereford's ESG scheme.
The meeting - at this stage in open session - is set for the council's Brockington HQ at 10am next Friday (Nov 9).
The issue of the £500,000 - pitched as a variation to contract - will be introduced to the committee for debate by the chairman, Councillor Alan Seldon, as an urgent item.
Cabinet sanctioned the £500,000 payment at a special meeting on Wednedsay having been told the decision would get the ESG deal done.
But the deal cannot be confirmed as done until the scrutiny process is complete. Cabinet is scheduled to meet straight after the scrutiny committee on Friday.
British Land raised the stakes on the deal saying "changing market conditions" meant that for it to continue it needs to see a change in the financial return from the development.
Site developer Stanhope would meet the shortfall in the terms of its funding agreement with British Land in part by accepting a £500,000 reduction in the payments it was owed from Stanhope and British Land.
Key questions for the scrutiny committee:
* When was it first known that the £500,000 would be needed ?
* Could the £500,000 be considered unlawful state aid to Stanhope and, thus, open to legal challenge?
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