William Eichler 20 June 2019

‘Unlawful’ council-owned cafe racks up £234,000 of debt

Auditors have criticised Connah’s Quay Town Council for failures in decision making and internal control in relation to its opening of a local cafe.

The Welsh town council has incurred a cumulative deficit of over £234,000 in the operation of the Quay Café since 2011, according to a report issued yesterday by the Auditor General for Wales.

The report states that the council did not give due consideration as to what powers it had to open Quay Café. It said the decision was based on a poorly prepared business plan and was therefore ‘unlawful’.

‘Given the scale of the deficit incurred at Connah’s Quay Town Council, I believe it is important that the public has a full and proper awareness of the events concerning the Council,’ said the Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Crompton.

‘When it opened the café, the Council did not have the statutory authority to do so and its decision was not supported by a clear and coherent business plan. As a result the decision was, in my view, unlawful.’

Mr Crompton said there were lessons to be learnt from this case by all community and town councils in Wales.

‘Councils need to be innovative in dealing with community issues, but they must at all times display appropriate risk management and operate within their legal framework,’ he said.

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the council said: 'The council note the content of the report issue by the Auditor General for Wales on 19th June in relation to its investigation into Quay Café.

'Until we have had sufficient time to fully consider the details of the report then we are unable to comment further. The report will be considered at a Special (Public) Meeting of the council which we are in the process of organising after which a full response will be issued.'

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