UK: "Blobby Gate": Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP Advises District Auditor, Clive Portman In "Crinkly Bottom" Investigation
Last Updated: 4 February 2003

The Public Law Group at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP advised District Auditor, Clive Portman in his investigations into Lancaster City Council's involvement in the "Crinkley Bottom" Theme Park project in Happy Mount Park, Morecambe.

In 1994, agreement was reached between the Council and Noel Edmonds' Unique Group ("Unique") for a "Crinkley Bottom" Theme Park to be operated in Happy Mount Park. The Theme Park opened on 30 July 1994. It closed 13 weeks later at the beginning of November 1994. The Council and local taxpayers suffered losses of over £2m in consequence of the Council's involvement in this short lived, ill fated venture. The losses included a payment of some £950,000 to the Unique Group in an out of court settlement of legal action initiated by the Council against Unique.

The District Auditor received statutory objections made by local government electors in relation to expenditure incurred by the Council on the "Crinkley Bottom" Theme Park. Following a detailed inquiry, including a series of interviews, the District Auditor has decided that:

(a) the decision by the Council to enter Heads of Terms with Unique was imprudent but not unlawful;

(b) the subsequent decision by the Council to enter into Supplemental Heads of Terms was irrational and unlawful: no local authority acting reasonably and having regard to its fiduciary duty to local taxpayers could have taken such a decision;

(c) the Council's decision to terminate (amended) Heads of Terms the agreement with Unique on the grounds of Unique's fundamental breach and to institute legal proceedings against Unique was a lawful, but mistaken, decisions;

The District Auditor decided that none of the six Respondents to the objection are guilty of wilful misconduct and will not be subject to "surcharge". He concluded that the conduct of two former officers involved misconduct but that such misconduct was not wilful.

The District Auditor has upheld objections requesting him to make a report in the public interest. The District Auditor intends to issue a further public interest report critically reviewing the failings in the management of the Theme Park project.

The case was handled on behalf of Clive Portman by Tony Child and Paul Harrison from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP's renowned Public Law Group.

Head of Public Law, Tony Child said:

"This has been a very interesting enquiry. Noel Edmonds was among those interviewed in the course of the District Auditor's investigations, but we didn't get to interview Mr Blobby."

For further information, please contact:

Tony Child, Partner, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP 020 7782 8686

Angela Woodruff, Media Relations Manager 020 7782 8804

About Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP

  • Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP is part of one of the 10 largest law practices in the world with 13 offices worldwide, including representations in the world's major financial centres; London, Paris, Frankfurt and New York. Our London office consists of over 90 partners, 300 lawyers and a total staff of nearly 600. We deliver multi-jurisdictional advice to the world's leading companies, financial institutions and multinational businesses.
  • Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw is a combination of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (an English limited liability partnership) and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw (a US general partnership).

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Press Releases from this Firm
Recent Content from this Firm
By Bernd Bohr
By Bernd Bohr
By Astrid Pieron, Paulette Vander Schueren
By Diletta De Cicco, Charles-Albert Helleputte, Lei Shen, Kendall Burman
By Astrid Pieron, Charles-Albert Helleputte
By Geneviève Michaux, Christoph J. Crützen
By Geneviève Michaux
By Diletta De Cicco, Charles-Albert Helleputte, Rebecca Eisner, Lei Shen, Kendall Burman
By Paulette Vander Schueren, Nikolay Mizulin, Edouard Gergondet, Dylan Geraets
By Oliver Yaros, Lei Shen, Lindsay T. Brown
Font Size: