South Scotland

Dumfries DG One settlement with contractor 'confidential'

DG One site
Image caption The DG One site closed in October 2014

A council review has concluded it cannot release details of a financial settlement with contractors at a trouble-hit £17m leisure centre.

It comes after a BBC Freedom of Information request about the DG One facility in Dumfries.

Dumfries and Galloway Council declined to reveal the information in its original reply to the request in July.

After carrying out a compliance review it said it had to "reiterate its initial response".

The leisure centre opened in May 2008 but suffered a string of problems which ultimately led to its complete closure in October 2014.

Temporary gym facilities at the Loreburn Hall and a swimming pool at Dumfries Ice Bowl have been put in place while the centre is shut.

A long-running legal wrangle between the Dumfries and Galloway Council and builders Kier Construction over the centre was settled earlier this year to allow major remedial work to begin.

The total cost of repairs is just short of £10m.

'Absolute exemption'

However, the council has refused to reveal the scale of its financial contribution to the remedial works.

A review carried out this month concluded that a confidentiality agreement prohibited it from releasing any details of the settlement.

It said that provided an "absolute exemption" which meant the council was not required to consider the public interest.

The local authority stressed that it was aware of the public interest in the information and would have fully considered disclosing it if it was able to do so.

It said that releasing any details could lead to a breach of the confidentiality agreement which might adversely affect its terms.

"For that reason, disclosure is not in the public interest," said Eddie Whitefield who chaired the review panel.

"Reaching a settlement rather than proceeding with the court case when no result could be absolutely guaranteed will allow remedial works to begin at the end of this summer which is very much for the public benefit."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites