Market Place RegenerationPosted by Sheila Oliver Sun, June 16, 2013 17:27:23
Pure Innovations (05241249) Possible involvement in Market Place Revival
It is difficult to come to firm conclusions without knowing more about the company's structure and business operation. However, the following facts are known:-
The Company has charity status and profits are, therefore, tax-free. I have no indication of the grounds on which the status has been obtained/maintained. Which charities benefit?
There is reference to volunteers running the operation and also to 125 employees in 2007 rising to 187 in 2012. Who's Who? There are 5 directors - it is not clear whether the payroll includes "employees". If not, then the beneficiaries are the directors and the charitable status is in question.
Costs other than payroll take roughly 20% of sales. Substantial longterm debt was taken on board in 2010 by £2.0 million and was partly used to restore cash balance and was partly repaid by 2012, but the picture is not explained fully within the shareholder funds section of the accounts.
Market Place RegenerationPosted by Sheila Oliver Sun, June 16, 2013 16:37:01
Scrutiny Committees are not much use. The safeguards demanded by the Scrutiny Committe on the toxic waste dump school were all ignored by the LibDem Executive councillors.
Adults and Communities Meeting 13/3/13 - Scrutiny Committee
All about Stockport Market Place - Strategic Property Acquisition.
Purpose of report - outline strategy for development of mainly specialist retail business. This sets out the hoped-for results of the plan and stress the need to acquire and fit out property, explain the sources of capital necessary to acquire and fit out the property - corporate resources, adult social care capital resources, reallocate some PIF to fund work at the Market Place. It should mention in the headline the ultimate source i.e. the already stretched council taxpayers. They are being asked to take the risk of failure of a project whose outcome in these hard times is far from likely to be positive.
Background - Town Centre Development Prospectus (2011) - "Improve Stockport's Market offer and promote greater use of the market place......utilising vacant and under utilised buildings." But, Lo and Behold, an opportunity arose to acquire another property. Surely this wasn't the real aim all the time! What of the vacant premises? Meanwhile, the national economy had, in effect, suffered a triple dip recession and the decline shows no sign of ending. Where are these market shoppers to come from? At this point, Portas' influence is mentioned - specialist shops are focussed. Portas Pilots have been reviewed recently countrywide and have been given a universal thumbs down. Frivolous, mini-schemes, days out and other pipe dream ventures. Exception - Stockport! Does SMBC's record in capital project management really warrant this recognition?
Negotiations in many cases have been long-winded, costly and unsuccessful - often caused by inexperience of the real world on SMBC's part and their poor choice of developers, consultants and other agents.
A section now on Vision - a slick word but it belongs in novels, holy books and in the mushroom fields of Somerset and not in the reports of local governments The Market Place will have a lively atmosphere and animated street scene; a market improvement consultant has started work on a plan of practical measures ......the Portas connection again? The use of existing council owned buildings still gets a mention. The Market Place is to be a "fledgling creative hub" - this phrase and constant reference to "creative industries and specialist retail" has to be further evidence of the Portas connection. Other privately owned, vacant premises are to be approached. Growth intended in this hub generally and from already established private businesses.
Property - The council owns various properties in the area and is also in negotiation with Manchester Metropolitan University (Graduate Produce Hall). However, the common thread running through all of these proposals is the need for refurbishment outside and in. The cost to be borne by...... you guessed it! At this point it comes as no surprise that "an opportunity" has arisen to purchase another property in the market - to support the Vision.
MMU will invest in the interior hall's requirements but (wait for it) only after SMBC has secured the exterior enabling MMU to take on a full repairing lease - apparently this would lead to an increase in SMBC's asset. But to what end? It is surely not going to be sold in the near future. The "key priority theme" is "supporting local businesses during challenging economic times." Absurd - this support would be needed for decades and would need continuing underwriting by SMBC.
Funding - Much reshuffling of previously earmarked funding (2011) - including PIF and "Stockport Business Challenge Fund". Who would use the market place property? There have been approaches by numerous creative enterprises - with no backing - but enthusiastic. The stated aim is attraction of more customers. But again, have we discounted the almost certainly continuing decline in the national economy? However, there are two front runners 1) ARC -Arts for Recovery in the Community - Gallery, design service, commercial/social enterprise and 2) Pure Radio. These are both charities and neither could pay "market" rent out. But, given that, would hopefully succeed mainly by establishing a learning/employment centre and raised profile. Again, more than a hint of Portas. Also, SMBC as underwriters is a constant.
Property acquisition - (seems to have taken over the headlines from use of vacant council property). Funds would be sought from SMBC (Adult Social Care) and grants. After refurbishment and fit-out, the property would be leased at below market rent. The funding would be complex and from numerous sources. It is difficult to see a deal without SMBC permanently underwriting this. If this scheme should fail, SMBC would accommodate the No Risk Users in the market place.
The whole strategy appears to have little chance of success and should be avoided - write off cost thus far. The winners will otherwise be consultants, advisers, selling/buying property agents and the losers will always be Stockport council taxpayers.
Market Place RegenerationPosted by Sheila Oliver Thu, April 25, 2013 20:56:28
Unless this is a case of mistaken identity, it is extremely likely that the Council is interested in acquiring 20 - 22 Market Place, Stockport. This would be part of the Market Place development and Improvement Plan, which has been on the agenda for some time.
In the beginning, the Council made it clear that a major element in the scheme was its ownership of empty and under utilised buildings in the area. It would be an efficient use of those buildings without the capital spending on purchase, inevitable upgrading and negotiation involved.
Lo and behold, the 20 - 22 property may be added to the stock of buildings in the area. But what is to happen to the existing stock which in most cases needs major improvement? This question must be answered before launching into an extensive project which would involve the usual expert consultancy, legal, planning and the rest, especially on an historic building.
No fobbing off please! Get on with the original plan which seemed to have sufficient capacity without 20 -22.