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Liberal Democrats on Mid Devon District Council Secure Investigation Into Three Rivers Development

March 23, 2021 1:59 PM
Originally published by Devon Liberal Democrats

Lib Dems on Mid Devon District Council have succeeded in securing an investigation into the Three Rivers Development (3RDL).

3RDL is a Company set up in 2017 by the then C cranbrook building site development housingonservative leadership on Mid Devon District Council to build houses, with the aim of generating profit for the Council. In February this year, 3RDL obtained planning permission from MDDC to build 9 executive houses in Bampton. As part of that application the Council, at first, required 3RDL to make a financial contribution of £325k towards the delivery of local affordable housing .

However 3Rivers then submitted a 'viability assessment' to MDDC that alleged high costs for the development. The company's figures were accepted in good faith by the Council and their affordable housing liability was reduced to zero.

At the same time 3Rivers presented a business case to MDDC Cabinet seeking approval for a loan of millions of pounds of taxpayer's money to pay for the Bampton scheme. As part of this, the company set out costs for the development that were much lower than those presented to Planning Committee in their 'viability assessment'.

Liberal Democrats on Mid Devon Council questioned the differences between the two sets of figures. In reply to Councillors' questions at the MDDC Scrutiny Committee, the company has said that the figures in the business case are accurate. This raises urgent concerns that the figures presented to the Planning Committee are wrong and have been inflated.

The Leader of the Council Cllr Bob Deed has agreed with a request by Lib Dems to carry out an urgent investigation into these concerns.

Lib Dem Chair of Mid Devon District Council, Les Cruwys, said:

"The creation of a profit generating company under the Tories has led to this current lack of transparency. It has left a gap in affordable housing provision for local people and is gambling millions of pounds of taxpayer's money.

"We must ensure our concerns are investigated and answered, to ensure that no part of Mid Devon is left behind or forgotten."

"I'm delighted that we have secured an investigation into the issue. Liberal Democrats demand openness, transparency and accountable in all matters relating to the future of Devon."