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Pure Innovations

Market Place Regeneration Posted on 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 Regeneration – scrutiny committee report

Market Place Regeneration Posted on 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.



Hear, hear

Bypass Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 09:25:43

“We live on a planet of finite resources and land so we can’t forever keep ‘growing’. I for one, do not want to live in a world where my children have no access to the countryside because there is simply none left. I do not want my children to live in a world where the air is so polluted they suffer with asthma and other chronic health conditions. Wake up Councillor Derbyshire…we need to think long term here and stop concentrating on get rich quick short-term ‘growth’ schemes like building more roads and expanding airport capacity; and instead start investing in genuine sustainability that brings long term prosperity over short-term ‘growth’. Your failure to grasp this reality makes you unsuitable to call yourself a ‘leader’. Time to go.”



Council lease cars – an overview

Waste of money Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 08:52:54

It is very satisfying that the anomaly of the council lease cars is finally being appreciated – not only in difficult times, but perhaps it should have never have been started, given the minute business use and high quality cars.

The scheme is described as a car scheme; it applies to cars only and not vans – or perhaps there is another explanation of the 475 leased vehicles of which only 284 “members” are in the scheme. What are the remaining 191 vehicles used for and by whom? Do they give rise to a tax perk as well? Is this the only company car “management” in being? Is there another scheme running in parallel?

There is clearly a marked difference between the “Authority” and the Opposition. On the one hand the Authority seems reluctant to act quickly in ending the scheme and refers to “phasing out” and reducing costs like this as quickly as possible; however, their action consisted of only proposals. For debate – transitional arrangements for ending the scheme. These would include intention to close the scheme by 2014. This did not convey any sense of urgency and then there would be no access to the scheme after that date. On the other hand, the Opposition complain that the scheme’s very existence is “outrageous” especially as expenditure on it (£4 million over three years) had not been revealed to councillors, and it should have been ended immediately.

An aside – is it certain that the loss of the “perk” will not be replaced with an increase in salary at the end of the scheme or at any time in the future? Business use is usually paid for on a mileage scale i.e., a Government one.

It is appreciated that the reporter had to condense the interview into a few paragraphs and I may have misunderstood. What if the country’s fortunes recover – by 1984?



Birchfield Drive – Is this in store for North Reddish too?

Vale View School Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 08:42:46

There seems to be an attitude running through councils.

http://www.salfordonline.com/localnews.php?func=viewdetails&vdetails=29801

In the above incident, they are spending lots of money but the work hadn’t even started to get the landfill gas under control. What was the key hold up between the parties? (No doubt this is encouraged by the lawyers).

Peel Holdings were to compensate residents for their additional costs – this had not been foreseen when fixing the £900 goodwill from Peel.

Cut through the legal arguments; this is in the hands of Peel Holdings and the Salford Council and should be capable of being resolved ASAP to show some semblance of goodwill and civic responsibility. Otherwise the professionals run up a bill which Peel and Salford Council will have to explain to their principals who include council taxpayers.

They should set a real/sincere deadline for completion of the remediation work.

They should produce an analysis of their spending up to now – to show costs not directly attributable to the project (e.g., legal fees).

They should get a similar cost figure from Peel Holdings.

They should make an honest estimate of the cost yet to come and agree to split this between the parties.

They should get moving – whatever differences may exist they shouldn’t prolong the agony, especially if the start is further delayed with further cost to council taxpayers.



Virement

Council Gobbledygook Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 08:25:46

Virement – from the French virer – to turn



Power

GVAGrimley Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 08:24:36

Can we see a way in which Grimley’s (and the like) empire can be seriously challenged in their seemingly unassailable position of ignoring the law and controlling events at a level at least on a par with elected government?



Pension Fund

Stockport Homes Posted on Sun, June 16, 2013 08:22:14

There is an unusual, convenient display of pension figures in the accounts. The answer to a councillor’s prayers? They juggle with operating results! Can they see future events (e.g., political) which will cause them to have to scrabble around for a solution – it can’t be done again except if the “independent” actuaries can make another dramatic change of “assumption”. (Grimley Fiendisch)



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