Northampton

Northampton Town loan: Council boss 'sorry for mistakes'

Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Northampton Borough Council's chief executive David Kennedy apologised "unreservedly" for his role in the loan deal

The chief executive of a council which lent £10.25m to a football club for work on its stadium has apologised for mistakes made in arranging the deal.

Northampton Town Football Club has yet to repay the borough council loan, and work on Sixfields was not completed.

Council chief executive David Kennedy apologised "unreservedly" for failings identified in an audit report.

He told a council meeting on Monday night the report made "difficult reading".

The council lent the club the money in 2013 and 2014, and the initial plan was to refurbish parts of Sixfields and land next to the ground.

None of the work was completed and a criminal inquiry is under way into "alleged financial irregularities" surrounding the loan.

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An audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the borough council lacked full information on the risks when it approved the transaction.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Kennedy said: "As chief executive, I accept my part in that, and I apologise unreservedly to you and to anyone else I need to for that.

"We seek to set high standards for ourselves, and for the other officers, and it is with deep regret, that I see the extent in this report to which we did not meet our own standards in this case.

"The report makes very difficult reading for all of us, but particularly those of us who were involved in 2013, and in what has subsequently occurred".

The local authority has adopted a "far-reaching plan" to change the way it makes financial decisions, Mr Kennedy said.

1st Land Ltd, a company which was set up to redevelop the site, was given £7.25m of the money and is now in liquidation.

Northampton South Conservative MP David Mackintosh was also criticised in the report, which covered the time when he was council leader.

Mr Mackintosh said he had "never asked or pressured officers to cut corners".

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