Council Contemplates A VERY Dubious Public Investment Of Public Money …

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Council Contemplates A VERY Dubious Public Investment Of Public Money …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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Hi,

as has been pointed out by one correspondent with the Forest of Dean Council – it would be questionably a sound investment for yet more tax payers’ money!

Dear Councillor ******,
I note in today’s The Forester newspaper reference to a possible investment in the
above scheme to be discussed at the full Council Meeting tomorrow.
As you may be aware I and a large number of local residents are currently involved
in fighting the similar proposed Wind Turbine at Tidenham being undertaken by the
Resilience Centre who also built the Alvington Court Turbine. So far both the High
Court and the Court of Appeal have found unanimously in our favour in quashing the Planning Consent. Our legal advisers believe in the face of these clear decisions, the likelihood of the Supreme Court allowing any further Appeal are very slim. Moreover the FODDC itself has now withdrawn its objections and is not supporting the appeal by the developers The Resilience Centre.
Whilst I have no objection to the Council’s strategy of diversifying its treasury
management policy to permit consideration of alternative investments such as
renewables, I do have very strong reservations about the Council investing in any
type of individual Wind Turbine scheme proposed by The Resilience Centre, such as
suggested by Councillor McFarling in the Forester article.
Some basic facts as set out below, may help you understand why :
1.  The Alvington Court scheme failed to find sufficient private investors in its initial
funding proposal in 2015/16 and had to resort to an expensive bridging loan for
some £600,000.
2.  In September 2017 the Resilience Centre sought to raise an additional £600,000
via a public offering to replace this bridging loan this Offer closed in December
2017.
3.  Clearly once again insufficient private investor interest was generated, which is
why FODDC has now been approached by the Resilience Centre.
4.  The Share offer document is attached for information and you will note that The
Resilience Centre will benefit financially to a material extent in the payment of
management fees etc. from the scheme (pages 16 – 17).
Moreover, as noted above in view of the ongoing legal discussions, I would
seriously question whether it is wise for the Council to consider investing into any
similar single wind turbine scheme (particularly one operated by the Resilience
Centre), at least until the Supreme Court has given its ruling on the Appeal which
was submitted only last month.
I hope that you will feel able to object to this suggestion accordingly.
Minded that it would seem that Resiliencehas been unable to sell the shares in their dubious investment over a two year period perhaps it would be apposite for the Council to consider the wisdom of making up any of the shortfall  that Resilience would seem to have, particularly as the Council in the current year has shown a shortfall of its own, by way of an overspend of some £115,000 in the matter of Planning and related legal fees, a high percentage of which is likely to have been as a result of failing to take the advice of their own Officers in the matter of granting planning for a wind turbine for Resilience against the wishes of the clear majority of the Council’s own effected rate payers!
Fortunately wiser heads have so far prevailed in two appeal Courts with 4 Judges unanimously voting/adjudging in favour of the effected rate payers!
In pure investment terms I must admit I incline to doubt the wisdom of investing in shares in a scheme, particularly other people’s, where the vendors have been unable to sell their shares – just what would the Council do when it wished to sell its shares which would likely to prove even less saleable than the owners have found them to be so far!
I do not pretend to legal training but if the shares could not be sold might it not be probable any apparent profit would rapidly turn to a considerable loss and furthermore might there not be a possibility of becoming liable for the very considerable costs of reinstating the damage the Wind Turbine had cased and reinstating the land it had ruined!

ALVINGTON FORESTER 21-Feb-2018 03

I incline to the belief that the more time passes the more people will realise that using wind as a source of power is seriously unreliable in Britain and the more this becomes apparent the less the income on the shares will be & the less will be the probability of selling ones shares – the entire concept of a ‘Community Fund’ of any substance in the long run sounds little more than an unsophisticated Ponsi scheme where it will last until the founder sells their stake in the scam and the new owners are not obliged to pay out one cent!

Individuals may of course gamble their own money but I would caution it is morally repugnant for a public body to gamble public money on a scheme where clearly the very foundations are suspect even by its style, such as the pretence of the description, a ‘Community Wind Farm or Wind Mill’, whatever the apparent bribes and incentives – or even a collective guilt at having become embroilled in a Ponzi Scheme!

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Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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