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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Complaint over refusal to reveal why Whitehaven sports stadium plan collapsed

A complaint has been made over the refusal by Copeland Council to release information about the collapse of plans for a £5m sports stadium in Whitehaven.

Pow Beck Whitehaven stadium graphic
How the stadium would have looked

Copeland’s Elected Mayor Time for Change team received the response to the Pow Beck Freedom Of Information (FOI) internal review request which had been submitted to the council, following an earlier denial of an FOI.

When the scheme fell through in 2012, it meant the chance of hosting matches in the Rugby League World Cup was lost.

The council’s reason for refusing to issue the information is that the report into the failure of the stadium project is still incomplete but its chief executive, Paul Walker, said it would be made public in the summer.

Carla Arrighi, campaign leader, has been travelling around the borough this week with a blackboard asking for the report to be shown to the public of Whitehaven and Copeland.

Ms Arrighi said: “The report has been sat on the desks of Mr Walker and Elaine Woodburn, leader of Copeland Council, for about 18 months. Councillors were not aware of the report, by consultant Rob Blanden, until they were informed of its existence by the Time For Change team.

“Since the disclosure of its existence, all attempts by councillors to access the report have been refused.

“We are disappointed that our democratically elected representatives have been denied access to a report, for which they have a right, and need to know about.

“The refusal to allow councillors access to the report flies in the face of democratic principles that we are attempting to distill in the council.

“The Time For Change team have now submitted a complaint to the Information Commissioners’ Office over the refusal to release information to Copeland’s elected councillors, and into the public domain.”

The Copeland referendum day takes place on May 22 when people will be given the chance to vote for an elected mayor. Polling cards are being delivered.

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