Following two recent press releases from West Lancashire Borough Council/Tawd Valley Developments (the wholly owned WLBC subsidiary) here and here, Our West Lancashire are issuing the following statement:

Mark Kitts, MD of Tawd Valley Developments, previously of Liverpool City Council. He was appointed to West Lancashire Borough Council in Feb 2021. The job was advertised with a six-figure salary.
Mark was employed by Liverpool City Council for 19 years prior to moving to WLBC.
WLBC statement here.

Councillor Adrian Owens said, “The Borough Council have recently been celebrating the community help provided to local schools by Tawd Valley Developments, its wholly-owned council house building arm. 

What it fails to mention is that every council house built under this arrangement is 10% more expensive than it needs to be, while the resources dedicated to the help at Westhead Lathom St. James’ will almost certainly have come from the pockets of West Lancashire Council taxpayers – unless Whitfield and Brown, the builders who undertook the work on behalf of Tawd Valley Developments, provided their professional services, plant, labour and materials at the school for free, and in addition to their already contracted works.

“Instead of building council houses directly as we’ve done in the past, such as those at Elmstead in Tanhouse, the Labour council decided to add complexity and cost with this new company.” 

Councillor Ian Davis continued, “The Council’s Development Company was set up to make money by building houses for private sale under Labour’s failed 2018 local plan proposals. Once that plan was rejected by voters, instead of abandoning the idea, the Labour cabinet decided the company should change direction and build council homes, propped up by WLBC paying a 10% premium on every house built.

“The flood at Westhead Lathom St. James’ school will have a big impact on children already struggling after more than 12 months of lockdown; the timing could not have been worse.  The village has rallied around and raised £5,500 to help so far, and that is fantastic.  The work done by the building contractor, Whitfield and Brown, is also very welcome but mustn’t distract from the central issue: Our current and future council house tenants are being short-changed by the Tawd Valley Developments arrangement to cover Labour’s embarrassment.”

Councillor Ian Rigby concluded, “The truth is that if Tawd Valley Developments have paid the contractors to do these works in Ashurst and Westhead, then it is the Council taxpayer who is paying via a reduction in profits/ dividends. If that is not the case, and Whitfield and Brown provided their services for free, that would be a fantastic gesture, and it would be they who are due significant public praise, not Tawd Valley Developments. I hope TVDL can clarify this issue as soon as possible.”