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on Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:57

Edinburgh Council are to pursue the Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) for their costs in fighting a case over the conflict between the PPAG desire to protect parkland and the Council's desire to build a new school on some of that land.

In the story and press release:

Phil Wheeler, Convener of Finance and Resources added: “Enough is enough.  The Council has incurred significant legal expenses to date, in excess of £75,000, and the Appeal will incur considerable additional costs.    We have a duty to Edinburgh’s taxpayers to ensure their money is not wasted and we intend to pursue PPAG for their costs to date.  We will also use all measures available to us to protect the council taxpayer from further expense arising from the ongoing legal proceedings”.

The prospect of the Council sueing it's own citizens for challenging a decison using the legal system set up for that purpose is unsettling.

Councillor Wheeler's statement is equally so given the context of his recent work on behalf of the city serving as a Director of tie Ltd..

During his time serving as a Director of the Board of tie Ltd, (the company tasked with using £545 Million to deliver the Edinburgh tram network), Councillor Wheeler's discharge of the 'duty to Edinburgh's taxpayers to ensure their money is not wasted' was arguably less than unblemished.

The company on whose Board he sat ,not only spent the entire £545M without delivering a single yard of workable tram line but one of it's final acts before complete collapse was to participate in a deal that guaranteed a minimum payment of a further £231 Million to the contractor, this amount is uncapped, in exchange for building a line shorter than that contracted under the original terms of the scheme budgeted at £545M.

The financing costs of the scheme, which will hopefully be restricted to £14M a years for 30 years or a further £420 Million in total will see the total costs for the single track scheme top out at £1,196,000,000 given this amount will not see the whole original scheme built but only a fragment of it,.

The £651,000,000, is so large that if PPAG were to  cost the council £75,000 every single year, to match that total (the amount over and above the original budget|)  being thrown into the Edinburgh Tram project, they would have had to have started their annual legal challenges in 6,668BC---   over 1,600 years before the Sumerian civilisation rose in Mesopotamia.

But getting the £75,000 back off PPAG will help the city's finances and if we can get it back each year from now until 10692AD we'll have balanced the books on the ETN overspend as well