FAILURES in decision making by a town council has resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds being lost, a report has revealed.

Connah's Quay Town Council has incurred a cumulative deficit of over £234,000 from the Quay Cafe since it opened in 2011.

According to the report issued by the Auditor General for Wales, the council did not give due consideration as to what powers it had to open the cafe and the decision was based on a poorly prepared business plan.

The Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Crompton, said: "Given the scale of the deficit incurred at Connah’s Quay Town Council, I believe it is important that the public has a full and proper awareness of the events concerning the council.

"When it opened the café, the council did not have the statutory authority to do so and its decision was not supported by a clear and coherent business plan. As a result the decision was, in my view, unlawful."

The report was issued in the public interest to draw attention to the significant deficit incurred by the council and their failures in decision making.

Subsequently, three recommendations were made. The council must undertake a full option appraisal for the operation of the Quay Cafe, incorporating a full financial appraisal of each option; ensure appropriate advice is received prior to making decisions on the provision of new or novel services, and to review the services it provides and ensure it understands the statutory basis on which it provides those services.

Connah’s Quay Town Council now has one month to consider the issues raised within the report and to make a decision on whether to accept these recommendations.

This report is issued alongside public interest reports for Glynneath Town Council, Maenclochog Community Council and Cynwyd Community Council. The reports set out significant failures in governance arrangements and inadequacies in financial management and internal control at all four councils.

Mr Crompton added: "There are lessons to be learnt not just by this Council, but by all town and community councils in Wales.

“The public interest reports issued today serve to highlight the shortcomings at four different town and community councils.

“Councils need to be innovative in dealing with community issues, but they must at all times display appropriate risk management and operate within their legal framework.

"All four councils now have an opportunity to demonstrate that the risk of such governance failures recurring is reduced to a minimum.

“The public need to be assured that town and community councils have proper governance arrangements in place to manage the activities of the council both financially and administratively."

The council holds a 20-year lease on the Café premises, expiring in 2030.

A spokesman for Connah's Quay council said: "The Council note the content of the report issue by the Auditor General for Wales on 19th June in relation to its investigation into Quay Café.

"Until we have had sufficient time to fully consider the details of the report then we are unable to comment further.

"The report will be considered at a Special (Public) Meeting of the Council which we are in the process of organising after which a full response will be issued."

The full audit report can be found online by clicking here