A long-awaited independent review is underway into the controversial Bournemouth Development Company, ten years after it was set up.

BDC was established in 2011 as 50/50 partnership between the former Bournemouth Borough Council and private developer Morgan Sindall.

But although it has delivered a number of flats schemes on town centre car parks, BDC has been bedevilled by criticism of a lack of transparency, the slow rate of progress, conflicts of interests and serious questions over whether it has been a good deal for taxpayers.

There are growing concerns inside the council that BDC is not fit for purpose.

Now a 'value for money' review has started after the whole BDC issue was raised by independent councillor Steve Bartlett, chairman of BCP Council's overview and scrutiny committee.

The review has now been set motion by the council's chief executive, Graham Farrant.

The review is being carried out by Local Partnerships - a joint venture between the Local Government Association and the Treasury and may already be on Mr Farrant's desk.

A number of people have already been interviewed including Cllr Bartlett, developers and BDC directors.

Cllr Bartlett told the Echo: "I have been raising my concerns for years, going back to the time of the Conservative administration on Bournemouth Council but then no-one seemed particularly interested in listening. There was little in the way of opposition."

He added: "Frankly this review is long, long overdue and I am surprised, give the widespread concerns over the BDC set up, that it hasn't been done sooner."

Cllr Bartlett said he had serious concerns over BDC's plans for 400 flats and an underground car park on the Winter Gardens site, which he believes contravene a number of the council's own policies.

The Echo understands from an external source that BDC has spent several millions of pounds in securing planning consent and the project is already more than £10m over budget.

BCP Council owns the whole site but the Echo has been told projections little or no profit for the authority despite this being the largest single development scheme in the town's history.

A construction industry source said: "I question how much the council is getting for this project. It seems to me the Winter Gardens is Durley Road on steroids."

Planning consent runs out in November.

Matters over BDC came to a head in December with another scheme, the Durley Road car park, which was reviewed by Cllr Bartlett's Overview and Scrutiny committee.

"I was very concerned about the apparent poor value for money this represented for the council," he explained.

"The council is set to receive just £350,000 from a scheme involving 44 flats on a prime seafront site.

"One developer offered £1.8m and another £2.4m and that second offer is not widely known."

Cllr Bartlett said he was concerned BCP Council was not meeting its best value legal obligations.

In a statement, Graham Farrant said: "Having created The Big Plan, which sets clear aspirations for the area, it seems timely now to review how well the existing arrangements are likely to work for our future plans and requirements.

"The review of BDC will consider the aims and objectives of BDC and whether, ten years since its creation, they align with BCP Council’s corporate aims and objectives and vision to regenerate the new larger unitary authority area."

He said it was likely the findings will be reported to the Audit and Governance Committee.

Ironically the chairman of that committee is former Bournemouth Council leader, John Beesley, who was instrumental in the setting up of BDC in 2011 as part of his Town Centre Master Vision.

The council signed a 20-year deal with Morgan Sindall to set up BDC.