Update on the London Road Audit Report

Posted on: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The long-awaited audit report into the circumstances surrounding the sale of Municipal Buildings and proposed extension to London Road car park has been received by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Following the sale of land and buildings in 2013, the Council entered into a lease with the new owner to extend the car park. Prior to the commencement of the works, concerns were raised by local groups concerning the removal of trees from the site to construct the car park extension which subsequently resulted in the Council deciding not to proceed with the car park extension and buying back part of the land it had previously sold for £450,000.

In view of the public interest and financial impact on the Council, the Chief Executive commissioned auditors to provide an independent review of the decision-making process and to identify lessons learnt/improvements for the future.

John Robinson, Chief Executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council said: "The situation surrounding the proposed extension to London Road car park became extremely difficult and ultimately a choice between saving a number of trees and buying itself out of a contractual commitment to extend the car park. Quite rightly, questions were asked about how the Council found itself in this situation and this has been the focus of the independent review. The review highlights things that we got wrong and things we should have done better. We need to hold our hands up to these things and learn from them. The report also highlights that many of the proposed improvement actions have already been implemented. The circumstances surrounding the proposed car park extension brought us into conflict with members of our community in a way that was deeply troubling and out of keeping with our values and the generally good relationships that we have. I sincerely hope we never have a repeat of this situation." 

Councillor Sylvia Michael, Chairman of the Council's Audit and Governance Committee said: "I welcome the report from Assurance Lincolnshire. As a Council, we tend to get most things right but when we don't, it's important that we take stock, learn lessons and make improvements. Myself and Committee colleagues will give the report thorough consideration and it's worth pointing out that the auditors have noted that many of their recommendations have already been actioned." 

Read the full London Road Audit Report (PDF File, 893kb).