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Lib Dems Accuse Tories of Wasting £3,500 on Snibston Cover Up

September 18, 2014 2:05 PM

Snibston

The Liberal Democrats are blasting the Conservatives on Leicestershire County Council for wasting £3,500 on covering up report that may have provided evidence in favour of an alternative approach to Snibston.

The Council is planning to save money by closing down Snibston Discovery Centre and replacing it with a smaller mining museum. Supporters of Snibston have been trying to find alternative ways to save the money, one of the ways by putting Snibston into an independent trust, allowing it more flexibility in how it procures its goods and support services.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that a report investigating the options for Leicestershire's museums, including Snibston, was decommissioned before it was published. As a result, the County Council could no longer use a third party grant to pay for the work and has had to pay £3,500 for the work itself.

Cllr Michael Wyatt said, "We called for an investigation to be done to look into giving our museums trust status. It may have given us a way to save the Council money while also saving Snibston Discovery Centre.

Now we learn that not only was such a report covered up but that it cost the Council £3,500 of taxpayers' money to do so!"

The decision on Snibston has now been delayed to December while the Council assesses alternative proposals put forward by the Friends of Snibston Campaign group and the Derby Museum Trust. However, there are concerns that these alternative proposals won't be given a fair hearing.

Cllr Michael Charlesworth said, "Everything we've seen so far has shown that the Tories are determined to close Snibston and that alternative plans aren't even being considered.

We're asking the Tories to request the consultants for another copy of the draft report and to appoint a neutral third party to oversee the rest of the decision-making process.

If they don't, it just shows that the only thing they regret out of this mess is that they got caught! I hope they will do the right thing and agree to transparency."