He said: “I welcome the Public Accounts Committee’s report into the former River Lodge Hotel in Llangollen. The detailed report and recommendations emanating from it make for sober reading and fully justify the concerns raised by the former AM Karen Sinclair as far back as 2007.
“On becoming an AM in 2011 I too investigated this matter thoroughly and voiced my own similar concerns that the Powys Fadog plans did not represent good value for money.
“From the original purchase of the land to the subsequent plan to turn the site into a Shaolin Martial Arts Centre and spiritual retreat, the story is one of poor judgement and inadequate management.
“Perhaps the worst mistake was in allowing a serious conflict of interest to exist for so long. The civil servant who recommended the hotel for purchase was also a volunteer director of the organisation which also wanted to lease it. This was a fundamental error which contributed to the poor decisions that were made.
“A lot of public money has been wasted on this project and I hope the Welsh Government learn the important lessons contained in both this report and the earlier investigation undertaken by the Wales Audit Office.
“The wider point is that in Denbighshire as elsewhere, we need to take a much more robust and critical look at the way in which we manage projects in our communities which involve significant amounts of taxpayers money. At all times we need to ensure value for money and accountability for local people and make sure any concerns raised are investigated and acted upon sooner.”
In the same press release from Mr Skates, former Clwyd South Assembly Member KAREN SINCLAIR said: “Nothing could persuade me that this was anything but a clear conflict of interest. I am saddened that it has taken since 2007 to get to this point.
“Looking forward to the future it’s clear we do need to put this site to good use and make sure something constructive comes out of this episode for the people of Llangollen. It has been my own view for some time that this site could now be converted into a new GP Surgery and health centre for the town, a facility the area has needed for some time. I have made this very clear both to the Welsh Government and to the local health board.”