Michele Kondakor will be making this statement at the Full Council meeting on 14th February 2018.
I am making this statement on the money that seems to be wasted on the failing Abbey Street redevelopment, on a day when the Labour controlled council are likely to make savage cuts to public services.
The cabinet approved delegated authority to enter into a development agreement for ‘land at Abbey Street’ in November 2011. The council appointed St James Investments as its development partner. In 2012, St. James’s Investment Ltd & SJI Developments Ltd submitted a planning application (number 031593 ) for a petrol station, on behalf of the council on the site of the derelict Kingsholme public house. That application was rapidly withdrawn.
There are regular statements made before local elections that SJI are promoting the development of the Abbey Street site. For example, at the full council meeting on 15th April 2015 the leader of the council said
“Further at Abbey Street, St. James Investments, the Council’s development partner, are also in discussions with Primark and a number of other potential occupiers on a confidential basis.”
Every year we see no progress and nothing comes of the pre-election ‘good news’.
Over the last 6 years the council seems to have made very considerable payments to the SJI group Limited as part of the development agreement. From the councils published payments over £500, it seems that, in the first 9 month of this financial year, the council has already made payments of almost £50,000 to the SJI group Limited.
A quick check on the Companies House website shows that St James Developments Limited was wound up on 7th June 2016, St. James Investment Limited was wound up by order of the courts on 17th October 2016 and that St James Group Limited was almost stuck off the register in October 2017 but has had a reprieve. It has left it offices and seems to be last surviving part of the set of businesses. I suspect it is only trading due to monthly payments of £6,000 from this council.
It is clearly time for the council to end the secrecy around its failed projects. It is also time to have a reality check instead of just moving onto some other vanity project while still paying for old mistakes.
It seems the majority of the staff (except for the dog!) had already left by 2012-13.
here is the website with my updates in yellow
The address listed is that of a virtual Mayfair office at 67 Grosvenor Street London W1K 3JN, that allows firms to present as being very successful.
The companies house website shows that the courts have closed St James Investments Limited.
The St James Group has just survived but moved registered office to a home address
And NBBC seems to still paying the group every increasing amounts. the payments have now increased to £6,000 a month.
There is no evidence of wrong doing by SJI group Limited but given the lack of progress on the Abbey Street project this information leads to a concern that the spending by the council may need reviewing.