Investors threaten to pull £500m out of Derby after night of ‘shame’ for city council

Baggy Shanker

Derby City Council has a new leader after Baggy Shanker was forced out last night (June 18) following a vote of no confidence.

Although the Labour group retains control over the council, Shanker was been replaced by deputy leader Nadine Peatfield at a feisty meeting on Tuesday evening.

Cries of “shame” from the public gallery were heard when the vote went against Shanker after a motion to replace him was voted through. The newly-elected Mayor of Derby, Conservative Ged Potter, used his casting vote to remove Shanker.

Shanker, who is standing as a Labour MP at the forthcoming General Election, called the move a “a desperate act of political opportunism” by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Reform opposition.

He added: “The opposition is blatantly exploiting council procedures to gain an advantage during the general election period. This is not only morally wrong but legally questionable.”

The situation was forced after it came to light that Derbyshire County Council was demanding an invoice of almost £94m be paid by the city council over long-running saga of the Sinfin waste plant.

Shanker disputes the invoice and said: “Councillors have demonstrated their ignorance of procedures. The invoice is invalid and disputed. I have followed officer advice.”

The motion put forward was that “the conduct and actions of Mr Shanker regarding the Sinfin waste treatment plant have fallen below that expected of the leader of the council and have resulted in potentially placing the authority in a financially dangerous position”.

Earlier on Tuesday, a warning was issued by inward investment agency Marketing Derby that investors would pull £500m out of the city if Shanker was removed, citing the instability it would cause.

Wavensmere Homes, which has already built over 900 new homes in the Nightingale Quarter, with a further 500 homes in the immediate pipeline, has said it may now consider re-evaluating a further £250m of investment in Derby.

Meanwhile, St James Securities said that negotiations on the next phase of the £230m Becketwell scheme were at a very sensitive stage and feared this might be threatened.

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