Bedford council to investigate whether it's owed money by neighbour Central Beds

Bedford Borough Hall and Central Bedfordshire Council's headquartersBedford Borough Hall and Central Bedfordshire Council's headquarters
Bedford Borough Hall and Central Bedfordshire Council's headquarters
Mayor Tom Wootton says CBC built on “several parts” of the land the borough council has a share in

Bedford Borough Council is to investigate if it is owed money from the development of former county council land in Central Bedfordshire.

But Central Bedfordshire Council said it already regularly meets with the borough council to agree payments.

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Bedford mayor, Tom Wootton (Conservative) told the council’s Executive this week (March 6) that land owned by the former county council was split between the borough council and Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC).

“Some of the wording used when they set this agreement up, should we just say was less than helpful,” the mayor said.

“And they use the words ‘gentlemanly good conduct’. Gentlemanly good conduct amongst the councillors to look after each other’s assets,” he said.

The mayor said CBC had built on “several parts” of the land the borough council has a share in.

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“For about the last at least six or seven years we haven’t had any money from Central Beds,” he said.

“We also get a share in everything that happens in Central Beds if they develop stuff as mentioned in that original report and part of the agreement.

“This report lays out what we hope might happen and also lays out what we think we should be due [from CBC]. What it doesn’t lay out is when [we will get it].

“What we would hope anecdotally is that they have been good conduct people and they haven’t been using our money to build bypasses and stuff when we’ve been hard up here in the borough.

“That would be ungentlemanly and unhelpful,” he said.

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“I think this is a very measured report because we have to be very, very careful. This is a next door council, we have great relations with them.

“Just going out and saying ‘you owe us lots and lots of money, this is not what we’re saying. We’re saying this is part of a very very long term thing, it’s been going on years and years and years.

“Of course we do hope for heaps of cash, but we will have to wait and see and work together as a team.”

A CBC spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “In 2009, as part of the transition to unitary authorities, a ‘disaggregation agreement’ between us and Bedford Borough Council was put in place to deal with land owned by the former county council.

“We meet with them regularly to review the position regarding the financial implications of the agreement, and all payments are agreed as part of that process.”