Northumberland councillors clash over £450 million Borderlands deal

Questions have been raised over the governance of the £452 million Borderlands deal.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The deal, signed in March 2021, brought fresh investment into Northumberland including the Ad Gefrin whisky distillery in Wooler, the Maltings Theatre regeneration in Berwick and the Lilidorei attraction at Alnwick Garden.

However, speaking at Northumberland County Council’s audit committee, ex-council leader Peter Jackson raised concerns about the governance of the “significant” deal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “We are the accountable body for Borderlands. I looked at the website and saw a few very cursory notes from meetings of the Borderlands Project.

Council leader Glen Sanderson.Council leader Glen Sanderson.
Council leader Glen Sanderson.

“I think we should have a further and detailed report to this meeting with balance sheets for the last two to three years.

"It is right that this council should put in place, or be assured that there is in place, proper governance processes, reporting and accounting around the whole thing.”

Council leader Glen Sanderson was unhappy with the issue being raised.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “I’m quite surprised to hear the comments about Borderlands. Meetings are live-streamed and in addition we publish regular reports.

“I’m very proud of the work Northumberland is undertaking as part of Borderlands. It is taking forward projects that would not normally be considered.

“Members can contact me – I’m on the board. It is easy to criticise, and much more difficult to make the effort to find out the facts.”

Cllr Jackson responded: “I have no real criticism of the projects, I’m fully supportive. It is such a lot of money, we need to ensure from the council’s point of view that the governance arrangements are in place.”