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Councillor demands transparency with accounts of Downham Market town council

The Downham council meeting last night raised questions of financial transparency within the council.

Councillor Doug Lawson, challenged the council on the gross revenue for letting out the town hall to the NHS for coronavirus vaccines.

He proposed items for the next agenda, saying: "I propose a breakdown of the the amount of money paid for case number 0015 for which we do not appear to have a requisition.

Councillor Doug Lawson Credit Steven Hewitt (51983729)
Councillor Doug Lawson Credit Steven Hewitt (51983729)

"The accounts of the money paid, by the taxpayer, in the last six months to Hawkins solicitors.

"Why can we not see the accounts on request?"

The Mayor said: "Some of these matters would come under confidentiality."

Mr Lawson said in reply: "It's not true that's irrelevant."

Councillor Sharman also asked where £36,000 handed over the Downham council in relation to work for the Jubilee Community Centre.

Mr Sharman said: "We had that £36,000 and also £10,000, we can afford to do the repairs that need doing."

Councillor David Sharman Credit Steve Hewitt (51983747)
Councillor David Sharman Credit Steve Hewitt (51983747)

The Clerk Elaine Oliver gave figures for each item needed doing on the centre, including French doors and the boiler and said: "We do have to be careful with that money, that pot is not the town councils money.

"It's there, but after salaries have been paid we have to have approval of the full council."

Councillor Becky Hayes said: "We still retain authority over the building but the charity has the funds, we need to take this to the trustees to see if they are happy with that money being spent."

Ms Groom said: "Everyone here is a trustee, as councillors, to add to the confusion."

DMTC meeting October 5 Credit Steven Hewitt (51983761)
DMTC meeting October 5 Credit Steven Hewitt (51983761)

Mr Lawson said: "Does the charitable trust have the authority to hand over the money? I would like to see that in writing."

Mrs Oliver said: "Of course you can see it in writing and we would have to have a long conversation about it.

"We don't have it here."

There have been whispers that the accounts of the council have not been available for access however the Lynn News has seen these accounts, with no qualms.

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