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> council caught giving land away... AGAIN!!, Tories and Lib Dems colluded behind closed doors to keep details secre
Richard Garvie
post Mar 28 2013, 11:20 AM
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So the detail has finally been exposed. West Berkshire Council are trying to give prime development land to a developer for free, and both Tory and Lib Dem councillors colluded to keep financial details secret like they did on Parkway.

Labour will now lobby Eric Pickles to stop the deal, but happy to join forces with anyone on this to make it a non political community campaign if possible.
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JeffG
post Mar 28 2013, 11:39 AM
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Details?
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Andy Capp
post Mar 28 2013, 11:46 AM
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Frankly our Lib Dem/Tory alliance are hateful. What happens to West Berks when they have 'given-up' all assets, what will they 'give away' then?

Like with Parkway, what would be nice is if there was a rationalé published, and not the spin-like brochures that get published with multi-ethnic smiley faces and summer day images of Newbury, but a tangible reason why it is a good idea to give away public land.
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Mariejader
post Mar 28 2013, 11:50 AM
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QUOTE (JeffG @ Mar 28 2013, 11:39 AM) *
Details?


http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/2013/council...te-to-developer


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CharlieF
post Mar 28 2013, 12:13 PM
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“The land will be handed over to Grainger, not sold, as our contribution to the scheme. There will be no revenue returned to the council through the scheme.”

Why?
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Andy Capp
post Mar 28 2013, 12:29 PM
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QUOTE (CharlieF @ Mar 28 2013, 12:13 PM) *
“The land will be handed over to Grainger, not sold, as our contribution to the scheme. There will be no revenue returned to the council through the scheme.” Why?

This is what I was getting at earlier.

And guess what? Even more bloody building work and traffic delays!
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dannyboy
post Mar 28 2013, 12:45 PM
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Two options -

1). sell the land to the highest bider & have no real say in what is built on it.

2). enter into an agreement with a developer & contribute the land for free & to get a far greater say in what gets built.
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Andy Capp
post Mar 28 2013, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Mar 28 2013, 12:45 PM) *
Two options -

1). sell the land to the highest bider & have no real say in what is built on it.

2). enter into an agreement with a developer & contribute the land for free & to get a far greater say in what gets built.

Why would selling mean no real say? Why would having a greater say necessitate 'giving away' land?
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CharlieF
post Mar 28 2013, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Mar 28 2013, 12:45 PM) *
Two options -

1). sell the land to the highest bider & have no real say in what is built on it.

2). enter into an agreement with a developer & contribute the land for free & to get a far greater say in what gets built.


That is, if you buy into the premise that having it done is a necessity - which it isn't.
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dannyboy
post Mar 28 2013, 01:03 PM
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QUOTE (CharlieF @ Mar 28 2013, 12:55 PM) *
That is, if you buy into the premise that having it done is a necessity - which it isn't.

Of course it isn't. You could just do nothing.
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dannyboy
post Mar 28 2013, 01:07 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Mar 28 2013, 12:55 PM) *
Why would selling mean no real say? Why would having a greater say necessitate 'giving away' land?

I'd imagine it would be along the lines of 'we'll enter into a partnership with you to revitalise & develop this area. you bring the capital to see the project done & make a profit on the development & we'll provide capital in the form of the land'.

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blackdog
post Mar 28 2013, 01:17 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Mar 28 2013, 01:07 PM) *
I'd imagine it would be along the lines of 'we'll enter into a partnership with you to revitalise & develop this area. you bring the capital to see the project done & make a profit on the development & we'll provide capital in the form of the land'.

I would have thought that WBC would have more control if they leased Grainger the land - a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent would mean that the public asset would not be totally lost, while the short-termist profit motive of the developers should be little effected.

Of course WBC will get some return in the form of Council Tax, perhaps even a share of any Business Rate (did the Govt ever implement the idea of sharing Business Rate increases with the locals?).


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user23
post Mar 28 2013, 01:28 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Mar 28 2013, 01:17 PM) *
Of course WBC will get some return in the form of Council Tax, perhaps even a share of any Business Rate (did the Govt ever implement the idea of sharing Business Rate increases with the locals?).
I think it starts in April.
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dannyboy
post Mar 28 2013, 01:34 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Mar 28 2013, 01:17 PM) *
I would have thought that WBC would have more control if they leased Grainger the land - a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent would mean that the public asset would not be totally lost, while the short-termist profit motive of the developers should be little effected.

Of course WBC will get some return in the form of Council Tax, perhaps even a share of any Business Rate (did the Govt ever implement the idea of sharing Business Rate increases with the locals?).

In an ideal world, but this is Newbury remember. I doubt there is a stampede of eager developers. If there were & others had offered to buy the land, that would be a story worthy of Rotten Boroughs.
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CharlieF
post Mar 28 2013, 02:10 PM
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I could accept the donation of the land to the project if it was a notional investment in social housing for the long term benefit of the community - but it isn't is it? The "Urban Village" is having some affordable housing (which goes into private hands at first sale and is lost to the community forever), but not social or council housing - so the developer benefits, the new home owner benefits, but the tax payer does not benefit.

It's ridiculous to lose an asset like this for no return - just a quick fix on the renovation and upkeep on the Market Street Council offices (which are falling down).

And I personally don't buy into the notion that a 'gateway' from station through high rise flats (which they will be because the station cutting / dip allows multi-storey development without transgressing roof height precedents) will "ultimately bring significant economic benefits for the whole town".

Town centres leader, Cllr Pamela Bale, said : "It forms a key part of the Newbury Vision 2025 which has already delivered projects such as Parkway, the cinema, and the town centre pedestrian realm."

Well say no more.
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John C
post Mar 28 2013, 04:33 PM
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I would perhaps have said it was ok if the bus station was included in the scheme somewhere near the Railway station and we got some revenue from any parking fees. But that wont happen will it
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GMR
post Mar 28 2013, 04:54 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Mar 28 2013, 11:20 AM) *
So the detail has finally been exposed. West Berkshire Council are trying to give prime development land to a developer for free, and both Tory and Lib Dem councillors colluded to keep financial details secret like they did on Parkway.

Labour will now lobby Eric Pickles to stop the deal, but happy to join forces with anyone on this to make it a non political community campaign if possible.


Well if we've got money to give away in a free prosperous non austerity area then why not. Besides WBC now can afford to give money away with this extra money they are going to make from the poor; bedroom tax. The free money is going to a good course; Property developer Grainger. As he won't have to give any profits or returns they make back to WBC he should be laughing all the way to the bank.


A spokesman for WBC (who I just made up) said "We are feeling generous and as there are no other good causes in the Berkshire area - apart from the poor we won't like them - we thought we'd give it to a rich capitalist guzzling property developer. And if he isn't a rich capitalist guzzling property developer now he soon will be" said the smiling WBC representative as he quickly glanced at his gold watch before jumping into his expensive Maserati car he bought on his recent windfall he got from WBC wages generosity scheme (with the help of the gullible Berkshire's tax contributors).
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blackdog
post Mar 28 2013, 06:08 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Mar 28 2013, 01:34 PM) *
In an ideal world, but this is Newbury remember. I doubt there is a stampede of eager developers. If there were & others had offered to buy the land, that would be a story worthy of Rotten Boroughs.

My whole point is that they still give the land to the developers, just for 99 years not for ever. So the incentive to develop remains, just that the council retains a modicum of control, not only on what is built in the next few years, but also over what replaces it in 50 or so years.

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Cognosco
post Mar 28 2013, 07:00 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Mar 28 2013, 12:45 PM) *
Two options -

1). sell the land to the highest bider & have no real say in what is built on it.

2). enter into an agreement with a developer & contribute the land for free & to get a far greater say in what gets built.


So you would give away half your garden if that would mean you could have a say what could be built on it? blink.gif

I bet the door to door salesmen love calling at your door! rolleyes.gif


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Simon Kirby
post Mar 28 2013, 07:01 PM
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QUOTE (David Allen)
“The market could be forced to close if West Berkshire Council’s plans for the development [move] the bus station near the library. [WBC] seems to have ignored the fact that the market traders pay to park their lorries and vans south of the library.”

The council are giving away £3.9M worth of development land for nothing, having prevented any public scrutiny of their plans by holding their meetings in private, and the Victoria ward councillor is worried because the market will be forced to close? Good grief man, the market is going to have to close because it's robbing the tax-payer to keep this moribund anachronism going and it has no prospect of improving under your town council's hopeless management. Now how about denouncing the democracy-dodgers at WBC for holding their meetings in secret.


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