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County Hall 'boo boo' leaves Penryn town council with £7,000 bill
1:00pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A “boo-boo” by someone at County Hall has left Penryn Town Council facing a bill for almost £7,000 in back-dated rent arrears and councillors debating whether they should rid themselves of a landlord and buy their own property.
The town council offices at Saracen House and Permarin car park are leased from Cornwall Council and both are subject to annual rent reviews. The county council, however, had not put up the rents since 2010 and then “out of the blue” hit the town council with a demand for back-dated rent arrears.
A total of £3,137.84 is being requested in relation to Permarin car park and £3,774.01 for Saracen House. Legal advice has been sought from the Cornwall Association of Local Councils and an outside solicitor.
“They have come back and said that it looks as if we are going to have to pay, but they have advised that should we want to pursue it we should engage the services of an expert,” said town clerk, Michelle Davey.
“Cornwall Council has said we should have known the clause was there and should have budgeted for it.
“It was our responsibility as lease holder to know that clause was in there. There is no time limit to when the council can make that demand.”
Councillor Mark Snowdon said: “This is unbelievable house-keeping on their behalf – it’s absolutely disgraceful. It sounds so ludicrous.”
Councillor Ted Wilkes added: “Somebody made a boo-boo over at Cornwall Council and are trying to get us to pay for their cock-up. Personally, I don’t think we should pay them.
“It’s about time this council looked for their own property and took a mortgage on.
“At least then we would have our own property and not one owned by Cornwall Council and the property would belong to the town and the people of the town.”
Deputy mayor, Gill Grant agreed: “It is time we bought our own property. We are running a One Stop Shop for them (Cornwall Council) and getting nothing for it.”
Councillors agreed to raise the issue at the next council meeting and in the meantime arrange a meeting with officers from Cornwall Council and the portfolio holder to discuss the way forward.
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