Late Filing and unanswered questions

Let us start with a quick question for you. What do Marcus Fysh MP and South Somerset District Council (SSDC) have in common? Besides the fact that both are based in Yeovil, that is. The answer is that both have trouble with filing documents at Companies House in line with legal requirements.

We have reported extensively on Mr Fysh’s woes with his accounts. However, SSDC are now having similar trouble. We were mystified when senior SSDC officers took management control of a company called Fareham Energy Reserve Limited back in July. We reported on the fact on 15 August but could not get SSDC to comment. Eventually on 1 September they put out a press release acknowledging the facts, exactly as we had reported them. They announced that they would also be building a 40MW battery storage facility near Fareham in Hampshire which will be one of the most advanced in the UK.

Strange though that they should be running the business as directors, yet did not own the company. The original shareholders were still in place; at least according to Companies House. Then on 1 October, the relevant documents were filed, acknowledging that the change of control had actually happened back on 10 July. That is 83 days after the event.

Event-driven filing rules

A change in ownership of a business is something Companies House refer to as an “event-driven filing”. The period allowed for these filings was increased back in March in light of the COVID-19 situation. You are now allowed 42 days to complete the filing. Unlike Mr Fysh who was an investment banker before becoming an MP, SSDC are inexperienced in these matters. One wonders if this sort of naivety suggests they are a little out of their depth? And if so should they be spending our money on such things?

Nevertheless as anyone running a company will know, there are late filing penalties and SSDC should now be fined by Companies House.

Still waiting for answers

There are other unanswered questions too. Unanswered because The Leveller® submitted them to SSDC’s comms team and they declined to answer them:

  • How much did they pay the existing shareholder, Balanced Grid Works (which is in turn owned, via a complex share structure by 10 private individuals) for the shares in Fareham Energy Reserve Limited?
  • What are the £506,083 of financial commitments referred to in the accounts (but not included in the balance sheet) of the company that SSDC bought?
  • What is the relationship between Fareham Energy Reserve Limited the company that SSDC bought, and Fareham Energy Reserve 2 Limited which is still owned by Balanced Grid Works?

Needless to say we will continue to put these questions to the council. We think taxpayers are entitled to have an account of how their money is being spent.

2 comments

  • What escapes is why do they own an energy company in a different county, 90 miles away? How does this benefit the rate payers/voters of SSDC?

    • I know what you mean.
      To be fair, their funding has been cut. So they are trying to earn money by behaving like a commercial
      investor.
      They claim there are no investment opportunities in South Somerset. That is the disappointing bit.

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