Middlesbrough snow centre: Council land purchase plan challenged

Artist's impression of how the show centre could look Image copyright Faulkner Browns/Cool Runnings NE
Image caption The delayed Subzero centre is expected to feature two ski slopes and an ice-climbing wall

A council's decision to buy a plot of land to keep a snow centre development on track is being challenged by opposition councillors.

Middlesbrough Council agreed to buy land at Middlehaven and sell it to a developer to prevent its owner raising the price.

However, independent councillors have called in the decision, meaning it will debated at a private meeting next week.

They claim there has been a lack of "due diligence and good governance".

April deadline

A document setting out the councillors' reasons for seeking the call-in says the initial council report on the sale failed to set out where a planned £30m investment for the centre would come from.

It also claims there is no evidence the taxpayer would not have to cover the cost of the deal, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Councillors had previously been assured the purchase would be at no cost to the council.

If the call-in is successful the council's executive will be required to reconsider the plan.

The council wanted to buy the land believing its owner, Homes England (HE), would try to renegotiate the price agreed with developer Cook Runnings NE if an April deadline for a deal was not met.

HE, a government housing body, said it was in confidential "commercial negotiations" with the authority.

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