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Leak of £22m council regeneration scheme documents referred to police

North Yorkshire Police are investigating a leak of Council documents which revealed plans by Scarborough Borough Council to borrow £22 million to fund a regeneration scheme.

On 25th Scarborough’s Legal Director Lisa Dixon told the council’s audit committee that an investigation was taking place into the leak of the documents which could amount to misconduct in public office.

The documents were published on the internet three days after the council approved the project on July 12th. The leak detailed plans to build 200 student flats and a public square in the town centre with £22 million in borrowed funds.

Mrs Dixon suggested that the council could incur fines as a result due to a breach of GDPR.

“There are also fines under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the reason we have gone to the police on this particular occasion is that after discussions we feel that the potential breach equates to potential misconduct in public office.”

She also raised concerns about the effect of a leak on future investment in the borough.

“Clearly any breach of confidentiality is serious but where it could cut off potential investment in the borough, where it could have potentially attract personal liability on the member or officer who has released that information, if a developer loses profit [on the back of that leak] they could go after that individual personally to seek recompense as well as against the council.

Mrs Dixon added that the council takes breaches seriously and hoped their stance would “send a message”.