'No cause for concern' over Kingsclere Parish Council accounts

ALLEGATIONS over funding for a controversial youth centre have been dismissed following an independent report.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council ’s internal auditors found “no cause for concern” over the accounts of Kingsclere Parish Council .

The review was sparked following a Freedom of Information request which suggested that £11,336 of parish money was unaccounted for.

But the 18-page audit report, published last week, found the cash had been paid towards architects drawing up new designs for the Kingsclere Young People’s Centre in 2010.

The redesign was commissioned after the parish missed out on more than £300,000 of Government grants earmarked for the £524,000 youth centre. The money was withdrawn, forcing original plans to be scaled down.

The audit report into the Holding Field Project account was approved by an interim parish council, who took over after all eight members of the parish council, led by chairman Richard Smith resigned suddenly in July.

Ian Tilbury , one of the councillors parachuted in following the mass resignation, said the fiasco, which has landed the parish council with a £6,500 bill for the audit report, was a “shocking waste of public money”.

Cllr Tilbury accused the former parish council of “running away” as allegations about the Holding Field Project account were made.

He said: “All you had to do was look at the records, instead you had these ridiculous statements.” He said it looked as if Sheila Thompson, the clerk, had unfairly been made a scapegoat.

Former parish councillor Len Potts, who made the Freedom of Information request that sparked the resignations, was unavailable for comment.

But the report has been welcomed by Kingsclere borough councillor Cathy Osselton. She said: “I am pleased that the report is out and that there was nothing untoward.”

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