Council spends more than £16,000 on audit of heritage project’s accounts

Diss Mere in the sunshine. Picture Sabrina Johnson

Diss Mere in the sunshine. Picture Sabrina Johnson - Credit: Archant

A council spent more than £16,000 on an audit into the accounts of a market town's flagship heritage project, financial accounts have revealed.

Like every other local authority, Diss Town Council has a legal obligation to publish details of payments it has made which are more than £500.

The most recent figures show the authority paid £16,800 to an accounting firm called Ensors, with the reference 'Forensic Accts HTP' on January 31.

Forensic accounting refers to the use of accounting skills to provide investigative support and analysis to businesses, lawyers and regulatory bodies.

Sheila Moss King, programme manager of the Diss Heritage Triangle and Diss Corn Hall Project, said the payment was to cover the cost of an audit of £3.4m The Heritage Triangle Project.

The project covered four main areas - the renovation of the grade II listed Diss Corn Hall, the creation of a new wildlife garden and floating boardwalk at Mere's Mouth and the re-design of the street layout in St Nicholas Street, Market Hill and Market Place.

The renovation of the Corn Hall - the centre piece of the project - was completed in May 2017, followed by a celebratory event marking the completion of all the works in September 2017.

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Recently the project has been shortlisted for a heritage and culture award in the Royal Town Planning Institute's awards for planning excellence.

Amongst the other payments made during the month were £3,448.96 on a new bus shelter for Victoria Road, £538.80 on a new laptop for the town clerk, £2,280 on the drainage of the Mere and £3,450 on the installation of new play equipment in Fair Green.

The accounts also detail some payments of less than £500 - for example £69.03 spent on tea bags for the council office, £21.70 on a roses plant for the Heritage Triangle and £82.98 for two water bottles for the Corn Hall.

The total expenditure for the month from the council's current account was £62,492.99 but the largest single payment was to Ensors.

The accounts are available to view on the council's web site.

Diss Town Council has been approached for comment.