Investigation cost council £30,000

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An investigation into allegations surrounding the cost of Holbeach travellers’ site has cleared South Holland District Council of any wrongdoing.

An external auditor had been asked to look at how much the council spent on relocating occupants of an unauthorised travellers’ site in Cranmore Lane, Holbeach, to a new site in Northons Lane.

Last week, members of the council’s Governance and Audit committe received the auditor’s report, which said although there was no need to issue a public interest report, the objection had highlighted issues which the council needed to consider, including its failure to review its site selection as problems arose which sent the cost spiralling.

He said that at a cost of almost £108,000 per pitch, the “comparatively high cost” Northons Lane site “leaves unanswered questions over whether it was value for money for taxpayers”.

And he said although the council acquired the Cranmore Lane site to prevent further unauthorised occupation, delays mean that more than a year after it was vacated it still lies derelict and lessons need to be learned to ensure all three sites the council has pledged to provide can be achieved within its £1.753million budget.