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Home / Latest News / Cardiff council committee chair calls for internal investigation over shredded letter

Cardiff council committee chair calls for internal investigation over shredded letter

There have been calls for an internal investigation into evidence of a Welsh Government letter used by Cardiff council’s economy boss to help justify an attempted multi-million pound land deal.

Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for economy, this month said his only copy had been shredded and he’s yet to get a replacement from the Welsh Government.

The former Labour council leader used the letter last November to help justify the urgency of a £7.25m bid to purchase five acres of land at Callaghan Square in the city centre.

He told two meetings late last year that the Welsh Government had, in the letter, advised him a “third party” wanted to purchase the site and “land bank” it, meaning it would be “sterilised for a number of years”.

The deal subsequently collapsed, but Coun Goodway has since failed to respond to repeated requests from councillors to produce evidence of the letter.

He has said his copy was wrongly shredded by a council officer and there was no record of it on the council’s system as it had been hand delivered to him at his other work by an Assembly official.

Elizabeth Clark, chairman of the Policy Review and Performance Scrutiny Committee, has now asked council chief executive Jon House to launch a “full internal audit”.

In her request to Mr House, Coun Clark said she was “aghast” that a cabinet member and council officers had “carelessly and apparently cavalierly” thrown away such an important document.

“Especially, since at that stage negotiations to buy the Callaghan Square land by the council were still on-going for another six days,” she wrote. 

“It is irresponsible behaviour at best. To make matters worse, I have asked for the letter on many occasions over the last six months with no substantive response until this week.

“I feel that Coun Goodway is holding the scrutiny process in contempt.

“As a result, please could you undertake a full internal audit of the situation.”

Coun Clark also asked Mr House to obtain a copy of the letter from the Business Minister Edwina Hart.

The Welsh Government has not confirmed the existence of the letter when asked by WalesOnline, only saying that any correspondence relating to the purchase of land at Callaghan Square would be “commercial in confidence”.

A council spokeswoman was unable to say whether the internal audit had been launched by Mr House.

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