Mud, mud, and a not-so-glorious £100k bill

Councillor Peter Geary
Councillor Peter Geary

A councillor is locked in dispute with his own council over a heap of MUD that has cost taxpayers almost £100,000.

The 24-metre long pile was built on farmland owned by Olney councillor Peter Geary as part of the council’s flood defence works.

But from the outset the project has been an “unmitigated disaster”, costing three times more than it should, claims Tory Mr Geary.

He said the construction, known as a bund, has ruined one and a half acres of prime wheat crop at his Yew Tree Farm near Hanslope.

And to muddy the waters further, he still hasn’t been paid for the use of his land.

“I strongly support this flood defence work, but if MK Council treats somebody they know like this, goodness knows what they’re like when they negotiate with the public,” he said this week.

Currently Mr Geary is negotiating with land agents who charge the council around £100 a hour.

He said: “I’m only trying to get the money I’m owed for the use of the land plus compensation for crop loss.

“The amount disputed for crop loss is just £400 – yet so far the land agents fees have added up to nearly £2,000. It’s just a crazy waste.”

Mr Geary claims the project cost tens of thousands of pounds too much because the council carried out the construction work during wet weather in March.

“They needed extra equipment to cope with the mud. Had they done it in summer, it could have been less than half the cost,” he said.

The two metre high bund, which has now sprouted grass, has a drainage pipe in the middle to prevent flooding of nearby villages.

A Milton Keynes council spokesman said: “It is inappropriate to discuss any ongoing claim for compesnation but in recent years the council has carried out flood defence work across the borough, particularly in rural areas , which involves a variety of measures including reinforcing bunds.”