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Wokingham Lib Dems say Tories sold Woodley Precinct too cheaply

May 12, 2004 12:00 AM

Wokingham Liberal Democrats are accusing the Tories of financial incompetence.

Tory-controlled Wokingham Council last year sold the Woodley shopping precinct to an investment group for £4.8 million, who have since sold it for a huge profit of £2.3 million (50% profit in 12 months). Councillor Coling Lawley (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Group) said, "I was strongly opposed to the sale of our shopping centre at the time. The Lib Dem Group were furious when the Tory Executive ignored our pleas and went ahead with the sale. The Tories sold this property at a knock-down price for short-term gain, and deprived the Council of valuable rental income every year.

"All the Council will get from this massive £2.3 million profit is £150,000. This is pathetic, but no doubt the Tories will try to convince you that this makes good business sense."

Coling Lawley said it was pure chance that he found out about the sale. He said, "I can understand that the Tories wouldn't want to shout about this huge embarrassment from the rooftops, but I'm determined that they should be reminded about their incompetence so that they think twice before selling off any more of the family silver."