A TIMELINE into the sale of a Powys County Council farm tenancy worth £5million has been asked for by opposition councillors.
This is because knowledge of the farm sale near Welshpool could have been known to some within the council months before a decision was made by senior councillors.
The issue was brought up at a meeting of the council’s Finance Panel on Monday, November 13 when councillors were looking at the second quarter performance of the capital budget.
Committee chairman and Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies said: “I do find the section on capital receipts slightly disturbing, and this goes back to the first quarter.”
At the end of September, the report explained that the council expected to make just over £8 million from sales this financial year, which is up from the £7.8 million that was being predicted at the end of June.
Cllr Davies said that a note explaining how the potential “capital receipts” through asset sales this year would be made.
Cllr Davies said: “In the budget there was a £5 million target.
“In the commentary property services were talking about a £7 million target and the projected target is based on an opportunistic approach from a third party for a large farm holding amounting to £5 million.
“This was in a response to the June report.
“Clearly I have big issues with that because of the scrutiny issues around a certain sale recently.”
The issues are surrounding the sale of 218 acres of the council’s farm estate at the village of Leighton near Welshpool.
The buyers are believed to be Welshpool based waste and recycling firm; Potters who are said to be willing to offer £5million for the land which is above the valuation of £4.13 million.
Ever since the discussion became known, the Liberal Democrat/Labour cabinet has come under attack from opposition councillors over the timings involved in the deal.
Cllr Davies said: “I am quite shocked as the report was written in June.”
He pointed out that the councillors on a working group looking at the farm estates had no knowledge of potential sale until just before it was discussed by the cabinet in confidential session on September 19.
Finance portfolio holder, Labour’s Cllr David Thomas said: “I haven’t seen the note and comments made by that service, it would not be correct for me to comment on that.”
Cllr Davies said: “It’s not acceptable that scrutiny committees are kept in the dark on such matters.
Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan said: “It has been the topic of conversation in many meetings.
“It would be good to have a proper timeline of when and who knew the information on this sale that nobody can discuss, so that we have full clarity.”
Head of finance, Jane Thomas said that timeline would be put together in time for a forthcoming meeting between group leaders.
Meetings between the leaders of the various political groups in Powys are held behind closed doors and are supposed to help the smooth running of the council.
Last month the Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny meeting probed the sale process in confidential session.
Council Leader, Liberal Democrat Cllr James Gibson has said he would resign if he is found to have intentionally misled the council over the farm sale.
Cllr Gibson-Watt has stressed that he and his cabinet have acted appropriately.