06 April 2018 Rochdale online
MIPIM in Cannes – a four-day property exhibition
The £25,000 cost of the recent trip to the South of France by Councillor Allen Brett, the Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, and Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive, was paid for by Genr8, developers of the Rochdale Riverside shopping and leisure complex being built in the town centre.
Rochdale Online asked the Council the week before the trip who was the very generous sponsor and the Council’s Head of Communications promised to “come back” with the answer, but never did.
A Freedom of Information request for the sponsor’s name submitted on 10 March was finally answered on 5 April.
Councillor Andy Kelly has voiced his serious misgivings about the council accepting the £25,000 from Genr8, he said: “For councillors and council officers to accept this level of sponsorship from Genr8 at around £25,000 is a huge error of judgement in my opinion. What happens if something goes awry with the current building contract they have? It jeopardises future projects and could rule Genr8 out of future tenders, even if they are the best value for money.”
Other councils did not consider such sponsorhsip wise, Southampton Council said it did not consider it “appropriate to accept sponsorship from developers or private companies that we are in discussions with”.
Councillor Kelly also wants to know what the benefits of the trip were, he asked: “Ultimately, what did the trip achieve for Rochdale tax payers and the Borough’s reputation?”
Rochdale Online previously asked the Council, ‘What tangible benefits came from the council’s trip to the South of France?’ The Council CEO responded with a detailed reply, that was bereft of specifics. Asked if he would be more specific, he replied he would not be “adding to the previous statement”.
Rochdale Council had not responded to approach for comment about the £25,000 sponsorship at the time of publication.