Plans will soon be submitted for 1,200 homes as a flagship “urban village” development in the Canal Road corridor of Bradford starts to take shape.
And concerns about the running of the development were ironed out at a Bradford Council meeting yesterday.
The local authority has teamed up with Urbo Regeneration Ltd on its £250 million New Bolton Woods eco-village plan and work has now started on the first 46 homes with an outline planning application for about 1,200 homes expected to be submitted within the next three months.
But councillors warn that audit bosses had raised concerns about the activities and management of the Canal Road Urban Village Ltd, the joint venture company set up to oversee the 100-acre development.
The Council has a 19 per cent share in the company because it has contributed land to the scheme.
An internal Council audit flagged up five “areas of concern” with the running of the joint venture company in 2012.
As of September 2013, three of these had not yet been resolved. They were: l that the board was failing to meet quarterly; l that the Council did not hold the required legal documents about it; l and that the company was not providing enough information about the project’s costs to the Council.
Yesterday, the Council’s Governance and Audit Committee met to discuss the situation, and heard that all three problems had now been resolved.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe (Lab, Windhill and Wrose), who is the Council’s representative on the joint venture company’s board, told the committee that the board had not met for a while because “there wasn’t always a huge amount of information to report on”.
She said the scheme had now “accelerated” and meetings would be more frequent.
Committee member Councillor Howard Middleton (Lib Dem, Bolton and Undercliffe) said: “This is a genuine public sector Council and private sector development, but it has to be crystal clear to everybody what is happening and what is going on.
“I don’t think there’s any sort of major scandal.”
Committee chairman Councillor Lynne Smith (Lab, Wibsey) said the audit process had worked.
She said: “We have picked up the issues that needed to be picked up.”
The committee heard an outline planning application for about 1,200 homes was expected within the next three months.
Coun Hinchcliffe, who is also the Council’s executive member for employment, said the project was “good news”.
She said: “It’s an exciting opportunity. It’s been talked about for years, doing this kind of thing, but it’s not until the last two or three years that it has actually started to happen.”