Move to gift Funk Bus criticised

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News

A call has come for East Lindsey District Council to be ‘open and transparent’ in how it off-loads its surplus assets.

It came from Coun George Horton in response to the authority gifting one of its vehicles, the Funk Bus, to the community group County Linx Radio.

Last Tuesday, at a meeting of the executive board, of which he is not a member, Coun Horton protested: “Yet again, we seem to be giving away an asset to the first group which comes asking for it. Why was the proposed disposal not publicised?

“I doubt if most people in the district were even aware the bus was available.

“The council needs to be open and transparent.”

The Funk Bus was originally bought in 2008 with Lottery funds as a mobile youth club, but the district council withdrew funding to run it in October, 2012. Since then, it has been deteriorating in a depot.

With a mere 34,722 miles on the clock, its value at auction has been estimated at between £4,000 and £10,000.

A report to the board acknowledges that, by showing one organisation preferential treatment, others have been ‘denied an opportunity to bid for it’. But it goes on to state that a speedy disposal will save ‘a disproportionate amount of officer time’.

The board was advised that County Linx Radio intends to use the bus to provide a mobile radio studio, to teach IT skills and to ‘bring communities together’.

Following the discussion, members unanimously approved ‘gifting’ it to the radio group after noting a recommendation from portfolio holder for market towns, Coun Adam Grist, plus a letter of support from former Louth mayor Coun Pauline Watson.

In response to Coun Horton’s misgivings, Coun Grist insisted that ‘tentative inquiries’ had been made about disposal before the offer was made to the station. This seemed to reassure council leader Coun Craig Leyland, who said: “The bus will be going to a good home.”