CPO Inquiry Cover up

Delaying the results of the CPO Inquiry into the St Athan Defence College and aerospace business park is quite wrong. The Welsh Assembly government (WAG) claims to us (letter of 17 Nov.) that the MoD decision not to proceed with the Metrix scheme requires more time because of “complexity”.

Yet the situation is simple – WAG went to the Inquiry for Compulsory Purchase of land supposed to be ‘necessary in the public interest’ for the combined schemes. With Metrix dumped, their case has disappeared and any alternative scheme requiring CPOs would need another Inquiry.
Let’s remember, Metrix’s overblown scheme included a military museum, church and hotel, and was conceived for over twice as many trainees as eventually proposed.
Whatever future training MoD decides to bring to Barry, the CPO Inquiry does not apply. It’s quite wrong of officials to hold up the result until they can concoct a positive spin.
Because of the Red Dragon fiasco, the auditor told WAG not to commit spending relating to another MoD project, without guaranteed refund if the MoD pulled out. Yet officials spent at least £5 million** in this case on consultants, publicity and the Public Inquiry (QC and witness costs), based on the flimsy claim that the aerospace development was complimentary to the Training College. Even if the Minister has to take the rap in public, it’s his ex-WDA officials who are now covering up under the excuse of “complexity”.

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