Arch bought house from chief executive

Peter McIntyre, Sunderland City Council's executive director of economy and place.
Peter McIntyre, Sunderland City Council's executive director of economy and place.

The under-investigation Northumberland development company Arch bought a property from its then chief executive, it has emerged.

First reported in a national newspaper last weekend, the company owned by the county council paid Peter McIntyre £395,000 for a converted farm building near Morpeth in July 2016.

In November, we reported that Arch was to be dissolved after a ‘complex and comprehensive’ independent strategic review initiated by the local authority’s Conservative administration after it took over from Labour in May. The board is to establish a new company.

The previous month, Northumbria Police confirmed an investigation was under way over financial and governance matters at the company.

Mr McIntyre’s address is listed from when he was a director of Hepscott Manor Management Company, whose directors are the owners of the properties at the farm steading in Hepscott, between October 2013, and July 30, 2016.

Land Registry records show that Arch paid £395,000 for the property on July 29, 2016, when Mr McIntyre was its chief executive.

Mr McIntyre was managing director and then chief executive of Arch from 2011 until last year. He was not on the decision-making board. He is now executive director of economy and place at Sunderland City Council.

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: “A comprehensive independent strategic review of the Arch Group (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northumberland County Council) has been undertaken.

“The review found ‘failings in relation to the operating principles and fundamental purpose of Arch’, outlined that ‘probity has not been at the level required’ and that ‘decisions made did not always follow appropriate procedures’.

“Following this review, the council referred matters to Northumbria Police. We are unable to comment further.”

The Gazette attempted to approach Mr McIntyre for comment but received no response. A Sunderland City Council spokesman said: “The council does not comment on individual employees.”