No wrongdoing in £9.2m land deal at yard site

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Council chiefs have welcomed news that a police investigation into a £9.2m deal at the former Swan Hunter site has been ended with nothing untoward found.

Questions had been raised over why North Tyneside Council bought a piece of land at the former Wallsend shipyard for more than three-times the purchase price it had been two years earlier.

We are pleased that Northumbria Police have completed their consideration of these allegations from a complainant and have concluded, as we expected, that there are no grounds for further investigation as there is no evidence of any wrong-doing in relation to any of the issues raised with them.

Council chief executive, Patrick Melia

The joint deal with One North East saw £9.2m spent on the land in 2009, just two years after it had previously been sold for £2.5m.

Northumbria Police began an enquiry into the deal last May after they were asked to look into the acquisition.

But that enquiry has been concluded.

The council provided information to the police to enable officers to consider whether there was any wrong-doing that warranted investigation or alternative action.

Council chief executive Patrick Melia said: “We are pleased that Northumbria Police have completed their consideration of these allegations from a complainant and have concluded, as we expected, that there are no grounds for further investigation as there is no evidence of any wrong-doing in relation to any of the issues raised with them.

“The council has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach and if there was any wrongdoing we would certainly want it to be exposed and dealt with according to the authority’s own policies as well as through the legal process as appropriate.

“We can now continue to focus on the delivery of our exciting ambitions for the redevelopment of the Swans site through a £100m investment that will transform the former shipyard into an advanced manufacturing hub for the offshore industry, bringing thousands of new jobs to Wallsend and benefiting the wider area.

“North Tyneside Council, and its partner developer Kier Property, are making good progress with infrastructure works that are essential to prepare the site and attract subsea and offshore industries.

“This work includes upgrading roads, repairing the quay edge, working with major utilities and refurbishing the main office block as the Swans Centre for Innovation.

“The large crane will be installed once the quay edge repairs are completed.”