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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:29 PM   #661
moveupandon
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Yes it's a cross and angry email, but hopefully constructive!

________________________________________________________________


Dear Eric Pickles

I will try to keep this email as concise as I can. However as we are rapidly gaining support for this petition I will have to limit the outpouring of anger and confusion the public of Manchester feel about the 26 years of inaction, neglect and abuse of London Road Fire Station by the Britannia Hotel Group.

I know other members of the public have written to you about the overturned CPO and this iconic At Risk (1998) Listed II* (1974) building at the entrance to Manchester Piccadilly. Your offices reply “Eric Pickles made his decision” and that Manchester City Council can decide to undertake a second CPO if it wants to certainly does not suffice as a respectful answer and issuing it again could only be considered the upmost insult to Manchester and its citizens.

I kindly ask your considered and detailed response to our concerns. Please be aware this is an open letter shared on Google and any reply I receive will also be shared.

Most importantly after what many people consider to be your shocking and unfathomable decision to overturn the CPO in November 2011, the inaction, cynicism and deceit of Britannia Hotel Group are inevitably continuing into what will soon be a 27th year.

Sources who were at the CPO hearing have told me that both English Heritage and the Planning Officer said to you to consider any offer Britannia Hotels promised with extreme caution after at that point 25 years of this legacy. I am also aware that English Heritage has to support plans that would allow an At Risk building to be ‘rescued’ as it is in its instructional agenda. This is despite possible its deeply held personal disdain and dislike for an organization. I’m certain there was no heroic ‘Britannia’ fanfare that some have argued led to your decision in rejecting the CPO! It is clear there were many doubts about their intention to undertake a redevelopment after a rejected CPO and that these sentiments were expressed to you is undeniable.

Yet after all these impassioned pleas at the CPO inquiry and appeal, despite promises from the CEO Alex Langsam to fund out of his very considerable business fortune (I read he personally promised he had £30 million to invest in this redevelopment project), we are now in December 2012 and no action that was promised has been undertaken.

Just months after this decisive pledge of immediate activity, as I’m sure you know, in February 2012 Britannia Hotels said to English Heritage “Developing the scheme as it stands would not be sustainable either in the current climate or the foreseeable future". I now hope that you too consider this to be an abuse and an affront to your decision to overturn a CPO for this central At Risk Icon.

Simon Thurley, Head of English Heritage, has responded to me personally and I quote “We were particularly dismayed when, despite the clear commitment of Britannia Hotels at the CPO inquiry that, if the order was not confirmed, they would implement the hotel scheme for which they had planning and listed building consent, we were subsequently informed that they would not do this. Your petition is clearly harnessing the entirely understandable anger that one of Manchester's finest historic buildings, located at a prime city centre site, still stands vacant and at risk”.
Now we are all very aware that Britannia are very cynically putting the absolute minimum work into LRFS to avoid an Urgent Works Notice or to go below the knife edge threshold of being completely legally unacceptable and that they are strategically doing so as to avoid the enforced takeover of this building. How are such games acceptable after 26 years of these delaying tactics? Sorry to be blunt, but this postulating to avoid having the building removed are shameful, disgusting and by no means on any ethical point justifiable.

However, now, Manchester finds itself in the very fearful position of considering whether it can dare to challenge common sense justice of this case, as under your Government it might not be forthcoming. In this economic climate that is causing so much adversity and difficulty, we come to the position where politically I imagine the council and many contributors are very scared to risk the financial costs of a new CPO. This is despite the overwhelming evidence that this company has been explicitly deceitful and inept. Some are browbeaten by the apathy and despair of this case, but many refuse to allow this to continue.

Many express the doubt and suspicion that as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if a second CPO ever goes forward again you will be chairing it and therefore provide the same biases you did in the previous case. Indeed as you can imagine and hopefully do not celebrate, all sorts of professional people have suggested that yours was a gleeful decision that you made against a predominantly Labour and partly Liberal City Council.

I would like with absolute certainty for you to assure me that this was not the case and political bias and allegiance did not impact your decision and that any future decisions made in considering a new CPO will rightfully express and consider the rightful anger of the Manchester public; the costs incurred by the local government and the blasé mind games played by Britannia Hotels for over a quarter of a century.

Even if your allegiance holds private investment as being necessary over local government, then please allow the many interested parties that would rescue this building and consider its acquisition for a sympathetic and dynamic redevelopment as a privilege. I hope you can express explicitly your disappointment with Britannia and the absolute certainty that this dynasty of destruction needs to come to an end when you reply to me.

What is certain if the government wanted to take a building off even a thriving corporation, I am quite sure they could and they would find means to do so. Similarly, I hope that you can understand the anger of many people, after all in your introduction of the Localism Act 2010 you said you wanted to “give local communities real control over housing and planning decisions”.

Is this just rhetoric and blustering or do we as Manchester people have a real chance to come together to change this situation? Thus instead of vilifying you as a figurehead, Manchester might remember you as the person who at last could change this situation for the best once and for all?

So as to keep the structure and clarity in this letter to you I would like responses to the following bullet points that have come from people concerned about this case and also are my personal questions.

* Since owning the building in 1986 (now heading into the 27th year of this negligent ownership), there have been three major boom periods within the economy. How if in one of the most difficult economic situations is a country can find itself in can a company that despite having enough capital, having promised the investment of this capital, can Britannia continue to be allowed to abuse this At Risk Listed building that very soon is risks ruination? When will this legacy be over?

* What is very clear is that a different Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government even within your cabinet may have confirmed the CPO. I have even spoken to other conservative voters within Manchester (yes they are a rare breed), who are also shocked at your decision. Therefore if the second CPO goes ahead please outline explicitly what will affect your decision to support the removal of ownership from Britannia Hotels (at last)?

* When “Britannia's witnesses made it very plain that the scheme is ready to proceed as soon as the threat of the CPO is removed" which happened in November 2011 and until this very date in December 2012 nothing has happened: Do such broken promises warrant the extensive legal costs being Manchester City Council's burden? Quite simply if the promise of the 30 million, the sincere commitment to redevelopment to start that work as soon as the CPO was removed, not being so, doesn't this make it Britannia’s responsibility for all the legal costs? Would a citizen who made promises in court be allowed to escape their commitments in this way?

* I have also been asked if it is necessary that you are the only Government representative who is able to undertake this case? Others have suggested because you have previously been involved in this case that Nick Bowles, Planning Minister (who I will also send an open letter to), would be a more appropriate choice under these unique circumstances of this extremely incomparable history of ownership. Is this the case?

* There is a widespread view within the petition that within these 26 years that the neglect of the At Risk Grade II* Listed building has become an act of wilful vandalism. There are also fears that this vandalism is indeed Britannia’s ever creeping desire, so that the building will be demolished at some point. Though bordering on paranoid, others feel it wouldn't be beyond Britannia to take sabotage into their hands and risk a fire. In terms of this being a city central building in the gateway to Manchester is such a test case now appropriate after all these years of neglect, abuse, damage and decay? Having missed so many years and opportunities for redevelopment, isn’t it appropriate to consider their neglect as an act of criminality in regards to damage caused during their inactive ownership of English Heritage as significant and important as this?

* I have been asked what relationship does the Conservative Party have with Britannia Hotels and its Board of Executives from a financial, donor and affiliation perspective (if any)?

* Briefly in regard to the news item Alex Langsam unsuccessfully sued his solicitors for not telling him about a tax loophole (the judge saying such a Non-Dom case was unprecedented). Where Starbucks, Google, Amazon & celebrities are being lambasted, doesn’t he deserve similar widespread condemnation, which further indicates the level of his immoral character

* The final point I would like you to address so as not to become tedious and weighed down by detail, is the sentiment that this would never have happened in London that this is indicative of the North South divide and the disdain with which Manchester as the second city is viewed by the current Government. Clearly on this particular case there have been countless mistakes over many years that are not your Government's responsibility. However after all these years, reaching the zenith of this CPO was so necessary. Its rejection encourages the widespread notion that your current Government is not respectful of the North of England and denies giving it opportunities and resources that would instantaneously be given to the Capital. Maybe you can defend the notion “this would not have been possible and would never have happened (by a comparatively significant piece of central Heritage) in London”?

I hope that you have considered this a serious letter and can understand the anger felt in Manchester about this particular situation. I also hope by giving us reassurance, sincere and frank answers you can aid the public understanding of your position and the moral compass that drives it. I hope you take the opportunity to decry the destructive and despicable inaction of the Britannia Hotel Group.

As the petition signatories increase (while persistently I hope to gain more media exposure and attention for this petition), if a new CPO is ever issued I hope you will take into consideration the cynical tactics and mind-games that had been used by Britannia in terms of minimal reparation etc. The legacy of this case has gone on far too long and something needs to be done about it at last. Perhaps you could be the heroic figure of change rather than the obstacle which suppresses the city of Manchester, its future, its dynamism and its capacity for an international reputation.

The tagline of our campaign has become ‘Manchester deserves better’ and I hope that you genuinely feel that it does. With power comes responsibility and with ownership of History, respect above destruction must be forthright regardless of agenda in the genuine consideration of its justice.

I await your considered and respectful response to the public's concern over this issue.

Yours sincerely



Adam Prince
Petition Founder
http://ipt.io/fcyj

Last edited by moveupandon; December 7th, 2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #662
newdoader
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My word that is some email Adam good on you.

It is all legal I presume.

Unfortunately I just cant see someone so obnoxious having the courtesy to reply.

Good luck.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #663
moveupandon
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Originally Posted by newdoader View Post
My word that is some email Adam good on you.

It is all legal I presume.

Unfortunately I just cant see someone so obnoxious having the courtesy to reply.

Good luck.
I know! He is right. Unlikely, but hope against hope he has some moral decency somewhere.

Bradford One are not surprised he did this to the CPO and has similar loathing for him (they've fought to save their Odeon).

Yes legal as all taken from online articles etc. Nothing libelous and I think Britannia can't sue about 1550+ peoples for entitled anger! Wouldn't surprise me though!

How could they say or these numerous articles have damaged their reputation when they've done it too themselves! Sorry but three massive boom cycles. Time for them to stop playing and get out!

I firmly believe in freedom of speech and as so many people are offended and angry I think it needs to be harnessed into a big shout. This is also the freedom to protest and now many people are joining, there might be some certain developments coming soon! Won't say more.

Well people without ethics running things need to be removed for their destructive drive towards injustice, destruction and exploitation!

Just saying.

Best all

Last edited by moveupandon; December 8th, 2012 at 10:01 PM.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:41 AM   #664
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very good letter MUAOn.

- one point, however, that you might consider fleshing out in any further correspondence (not tha Pickles is likely to respond in detail; but worth having for future reference.

Britannia have said; “Developing the scheme as it stands would not be sustainable either in the current climate or the foreseeable future".

This, of course, directly contradicts their explict statements at the CPO inquirylast year; even though there is no obvious sign that the 'current climate' (in Manchester at least) has in any sense deteriorated; at least so far as the market for specialty hotels is concerned. You will be able to point to a number of recent planning applications for hotels in the city centre in general; and in the Piccadilly neighbourhood in particular (plenty of examples on this forum). And to hotels being built (Dale Street for example)

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereven...-in-manchester

You may also be able to point to various assessments of the strenght of the hotel market in Manchester (I'm afraid a lot of these are subscription only though).

The point is; that Britannia's statement is patently false. There are many other hotel operators who would leap at the chance to take on the conversion of this building in the present climate. Britannia's dog-in-the-manger attitude is preventing them from doing so; while consistently refusing to do so themselves.

Underneath this is a point that everyone knows; but nobody will say out loud. It is Britannia's hotel business model that is unsustainable. Langsam built his hotel fortune on four principles;

- never co-operate with your competitors,
- always compete on price, not service,
- never let any other company make profits at your expense,
- never upgrade while the business is still profitable.

This is basic to the way Langsam operates, he pays bottom rate for his staff (which increases turnover but keeps prices low); he avoids any form of business associations; he undertakes as much as possible in-house (where his rivals contract out) - storage, repairs, communications, marketing, design; he offers the bare minimum of basic service, and all his hotels are desperately tired internally.

His problem is that this business model will not work for the London Road Fire Station. Given the historic value of the building, with its extraordinary completely preserved interior fittings, a hotel operator would have to price well above the local floor level (as indicated by Travelodge and Premier Inn) and in the range currently occupied by Malmaison and ABode. It would require his hiring staff with wholly different skills (and paying them more to retain them). And if he did manage to make a higher-value hotel product work on this site; he would almost certainly find himself unable to maintain his bargain basement economics at the Britannia itslef.

But each year another Traveloge, Novotel or Premier Inn opens (as on Dale Street); brand new, modular construction, designed from the ground up to have low maintainance and service costs; and so to undercut Langsam.

The fact is; Langsam needs the London Road Fire Station for storage and maintainance in support of his main hotel. Actually to perform as he promised to do, would require him to become an entirely different sort of hotelier.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:26 PM   #665
moveupandon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nerd View Post
very good letter MUAOn.

- one point, however, that you might consider fleshing out in any further correspondence (not tha Pickles is likely to respond in detail; but worth having for future reference.

Britannia have said; “Developing the scheme as it stands would not be sustainable either in the current climate or the foreseeable future".

This, of course, directly contradicts their explict statements at the CPO inquirylast year; even though there is no obvious sign that the 'current climate' (in Manchester at least) has in any sense deteriorated; at least so far as the market for specialty hotels is concerned. You will be able to point to a number of recent planning applications for hotels in the city centre in general; and in the Piccadilly neighbourhood in particular (plenty of examples on this forum). And to hotels being built (Dale Street for example)

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereven...-in-manchester

You may also be able to point to various assessments of the strenght of the hotel market in Manchester (I'm afraid a lot of these are subscription only though).

The point is; that Britannia's statement is patently false. There are many other hotel operators who would leap at the chance to take on the conversion of this building in the present climate. Britannia's dog-in-the-manger attitude is preventing them from doing so; while consistently refusing to do so themselves.

Underneath this is a point that everyone knows; but nobody will say out loud. It is Britannia's hotel business model that is unsustainable. Langsam built his hotel fortune on four principles;

- never co-operate with your competitors,
- always compete on price, not service,
- never let any other company make profits at your expense,
- never upgrade while the business is still profitable.

This is basic to the way Langsam operates, he pays bottom rate for his staff (which increases turnover but keeps prices low); he avoids any form of business associations; he undertakes as much as possible in-house (where his rivals contract out) - storage, repairs, communications, marketing, design; he offers the bare minimum of basic service, and all his hotels are desperately tired internally.

His problem is that this business model will not work for the London Road Fire Station. Given the historic value of the building, with its extraordinary completely preserved interior fittings, a hotel operator would have to price well above the local floor level (as indicated by Travelodge and Premier Inn) and in the range currently occupied by Malmaison and ABode. It would require his hiring staff with wholly different skills (and paying them more to retain them). And if he did manage to make a higher-value hotel product work on this site; he would almost certainly find himself unable to maintain his bargain basement economics at the Britannia itslef.

But each year another Traveloge, Novotel or Premier Inn opens (as on Dale Street); brand new, modular construction, designed from the ground up to have low maintainance and service costs; and so to undercut Langsam.

The fact is; Langsam needs the London Road Fire Station for storage and maintainance in support of his main hotel. Actually to perform as he promised to do, would require him to become an entirely different sort of hotelier.
Absolutely - the 'statement' Britannia so cynically made is also belied to give the 'truth' that right opposite a hotel (though controversial) is being built by Olympus. That hotels are constantly being built and now Manchester is aiming for the utmost 5* luxury (that "Shabby80sRelicSkankPit" Britannia could only dream of), just shows that 'impassioned' CPO plea that Pickles said he believed was most likely exploited for politics & was clearly as fake and transparent as the claim Britannia 'care about LRFS' (in my opinion dear legal ones)!

I'll be surprised if Pickles begrudgingly replies to my letter. In a way, glad it is not an easy read as means someone will have to focus on it. Anything he does not answer I'll certainly criticise in a reply to him! I'll definitely add in Hotel points. I still need to email Nick Boles Planning Minister and will add in that letter.

Last night a solitary light on in LRFS. I bet changed a fuse so can avoid CPO/ Urgent Works Notice by saying they are committed to LRFS! English Heritage said they were aware of this tactic, but infuriating to see as may mean if new CPO Pickles would make same ruling because of their concerted efforts!


Petition seems to be quieting down before Xmas but hopefully group of us going to flyer soon, either before or after Xmas/ beginning of New Year.

What values Mr Langsam/Britannia and Pickles have. Should have an ethics competition! Wonder who'd win!?

Last edited by moveupandon; December 26th, 2012 at 04:03 PM.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:49 PM   #666
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Absolutely - the 'statement' Britannia so cynically made is also belied to give the 'truth' that right opposite a hotel (though controversial) is being built by Olympus. That hotels are constantly being built and now Manchester is aiming for the utmost 5* luxury (that "Shabby80sRelicSkankPit" Britannia could only dream of), just shows that 'impassioned' CPO plea that Pickles said he believed was most likely exploited for politics & was clearly as fake and transparent as the claim Britannia 'care about LRFS'!

I'll be surprised if Pickles begrudgingly replies to my letter. In a way, glad it is not an easy read as means someone will have to focus on it. Anything he does not answer I'll rip to pieces in a reply to him! I'll definitely add in Hotel points. I still need to email Nick Boles Planning Minister and will add in that letter.

Last night a solitary light on in LRFS. I bet changed a fuse so can avoid CPO/ Urgent Works Notice by saying they are committed to LRFS! English Heritage said they were aware of this tactic, but infuriating to see as may mean if new CPO Pickles would make same ruling because of their concerted efforts!


Petition seems to be quieting down before Xmas but hopefully group of us going to flyer soon, either before or after Xmas/ beginning of New Year.

What values Mr Langsam/Britannia and Pickles have. Should have an ethics competition to discover which one wins in terms of a DSMV classification! I wonder what their classifications might be?!?!?!
I understand your framing Pickles as the enemy, and much that he does supports such an identification. But in this issue, I think that is counter-productive. I don't think that there is any evidence for economic links between Langsam and the Tory party. Langsam doesn't put his hand in his pocket for anyone. All Pickles needed to do was to confirm the finding of the inspector, I have not seen the full recommendation (maybe you have); but my impression was that the inspector said that, if Britannia had been telling the truth about their willingness to proceed, he could not find other than to recommend rejection of the CPO.

Unfortunately, Langsam's method of working makes his statements extremely difficult to disprove. With a 'normal' hotel chain, you could check which banks had been engaged to provide finance, who was contracted to manage the project, whether the construction contract has been put out to tender; if the answer to all three was negative, that would strongly indicate that they were fibbing. But Langsam doesn't go to banks for finance; he undertakes the project management himself, and he engages contractors entirely ad-hoc. The only reason to believe he was lying now was that he had consistently lied in the past. Hence no one could point to any evidence of current bad-faith. In effect Pickles was being fingered as the only person with the authority to make a call as to Langsam's credibility. And he called wrong. Perhaps our only route into him is to play on that clear misjudgment on his part.

On the politics of it; Langsam does not appear to be at all pro-Tory; but he is strongly ant-Manchester City Council. This appears to relate to personal animosity between himself and Howard Bernstein; which in turn seems to have a basis the internal doings of Manchester's Jewish community.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #667
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I understand your framing Pickles as the enemy, and much that he does supports such an identification. But in this issue, I think that is counter-productive. I don't think that there is any evidence for economic links between Langsam and the Tory party. Langsam doesn't put his hand in his pocket for anyone. All Pickles needed to do was to confirm the finding of the inspector, I have not seen the full recommendation (maybe you have); but my impression was that the inspector said that, if Britannia had been telling the truth about their willingness to proceed, he could not find other than to recommend rejection of the CPO.

Unfortunately, Langsam's method of working makes his statements extremely difficult to disprove. With a 'normal' hotel chain, you could check which banks had been engaged to provide finance, who was contracted to manage the project, whether the construction contract has been put out to tender; if the answer to all three was negative, that would strongly indicate that they were fibbing. But Langsam doesn't go to banks for finance; he undertakes the project management himself, and he engages contractors entirely ad-hoc. The only reason to believe he was lying now was that he had consistently lied in the past. Hence no one could point to any evidence of current bad-faith. In effect Pickles was being fingered as the only person with the authority to make a call as to Langsam's credibility. And he called wrong. Perhaps our only route into him is to play on that clear misjudgment on his part.

On the politics of it; Langsam does not appear to be at all pro-Tory; but he is strongly ant-Manchester City Council. This appears to relate to personal animosity between himself and Howard Bernstein; which in turn seems to have a basis the internal doings of Manchester's Jewish community.
Hi Nerd. Well hopefully if Pickles replies he can admit his mistake in trusting Britannia, though I doubt Pickles admits such things or that it was probably a move based on political spite and he would probably do the same thing again (which is the scary part of MCC daring for another CPO hearing)! In fact in both of these men's vocabulary I bet sorry is one that is seldom uttered.

Yes, probably a red herring in saying any relationship between the two! No was meaning to criticize their moral character and public perceptions of their personalities (of course not knowing either)! Such a shame Pickles chaired any CPO!

From Wikipedia and Eric Pickles & the Localism Act: "The bill was quickly undermined however, published on 13 December, one of the claims made for it is that it would “give local communities real control over housing and planning decisions”
On the same day, Mr Pickles issued a decision in a planning appeal. National Grid had applied to Tewkesbury Borough Council to build a gas plant just outside Tirley in Gloucestershire. The installation would occupy more than 16 acres and was unlikely to be beautiful. The application had been opposed by more than 1,000 residents (and this in a sparsely populated rural area); by 12 parish councils and, indeed, by every single member of the planning committee of the local planning authority. Mr Pickles chose to grant permission to build the gas plant".

As for Langsam, how ironic that someone who's parents escaped one of the worst tyrants/ destroyers/ robbers of cultural artifacts & wealth behaves in a way that would shame many of his ancestors!

Bad business + Bad Politics = The continuation of an appalling situation

Right one too many wines after a long day. Best wishes

Last edited by moveupandon; December 25th, 2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 11:46 PM   #668
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I understand your framing Pickles as the enemy, and much that he does supports such an identification. But in this issue, I think that is counter-productive.
I think I would agree. If moveupandon, you want to get Pickles on your side, then personal insults are not going to help. You have to concentrate on his role as a Government Minister and not treat all his decisions as vindictive. The Communities and Local Government Committee may be a good place to try. Chair is Clive Betts of Sheffield South East.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #669
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I think I would agree. If moveupandon, you want to get Pickles on your side, then personal insults are not going to help. You have to concentrate on his role as a Government Minister and not treat all his decisions as vindictive. The Communities and Local Government Committee may be a good place to try. Chair is Clive Betts of Sheffield South East.
Yes, you are right! Will try and avoid insults and hope there is something redeeming that comes from the politicians. I'll see if I get a reply if there's any admission of misjudged belief etc, though remain pessimistic about it, if I did get such a reply, that would be very heartwarming for the prospects of the case.

It's just so frustrating - hence the unhelpful rage.

Stepping down the campaign for the 'festive' period as come to a natural break as people seem too busy to think about this kind of thing right now.

Also a good break is needed so the message doesn't become tiresome and then will pick up in New Year with leafleting etc.

I'll look up the contact, so thanks for that. Best wishes while December progresses and I take a step back for a while.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 02:23 PM   #670
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Come on Langsam, sell it or something. Before all this builds up into something bad for you.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #671
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http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereven...er-council-15m

Quote:
Revealed: Failed bid to buy London Road fire station cost Manchester Council £1.5m
Amanda Crook and Richard Wheatstone
December 17, 2012




Manchester council has called for a New Year ‘truce’ in a battle over the fate of a historic city centre building – after being hit with a £1.5m legal bill.

The invoice is the latest setback for the town hall in a long-running feud Britannia Hotels, who own the former London Road Fire Station at Piccadilly.

The council has been told it must pay legal costs for both sides after failing to persuade the government to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order on the historic landmark after an inquiry last year.

That means that in addition to paying its own fees of £700,000, it must also hand Britannia around £750,000.

The ruling – made by communities secretary Eric Pickles – sparked a plea from town hall bosses for fresh talks.

They now want to sit down with Britannia’s owners to thrash out a way forward for the grade II listed building.

The company says it remains committed to turning the fire station into a four-star hotel – even though it has been derelict for more than 25 years.

City centre spokesman Coun Pat Karney said: "It’s a complete scandal and disgrace that this iconic building has gone to rack and ruin but for the good of Manchester we must now push that to one side and focus on the future.

"We’ll be looking to get back round the table with Britannia in the New Year and see how we can get this building up and running in the interest of everyone in the city. When you come into the city from Piccadilly station the fire station is the first thing you see – and it is a shameful blot on all of Manchester.

"This needs to change and we must make sure 2013 is the year we finally do that."

At the inquiry, held last April, Britannia bosses said they were ready to proceed with redevelopment plans – but no work has begun and the building is currently being used for storage.

The council, which is shedding up to 900 more staff to balance its books, set aside £5.2m to buy the fire station. Its own legal costs have already come out of that pot.

Hale-based Britannia said the legal battle with town hall chiefs had wasted time and money. But the company pledged again to concentrate on the redevelopment of the site – although planning permission is set to expire in 2014.

A Britannia spokesman said: "We feel we have not been treated fairly by Manchester council and have been misrepresented publicly over this whole issue.

"Whilst we are satisfied that the not-inconsiderable inquiry costs are to be paid by the council, it should be pointed out that Britannia cannot recover its own time and resources spent unnecessarily in dealing with the council’s pursuit of the CPO.

"This has also delayed the availability of Britannia’s funds which should have been directed into developing the hotel business and creating jobs."

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, said the council had ‘no choice’ but to pursue the CPO. He said: "Britannia has managed to hold off doing anything for nearly three decades. It’s a shocking way to manage one of the most significant buildings in the city centre."

TIMELINE:

1906: London Road Fire Station opens, after costing £142,000 to build.
1974: The station receives ‘listed building’ status.
1986: The station closes following the relocation of Greater Manchester Fire Service. The building is sold to hotel company Britannia Hotels.
2001: The building is placed on national ‘at risk’ register drawn up by National Heritage.
2004: Manchester council urges Britannia to move forward with redevelopment plans as the building continues to fall into disrepair.
2006: London-based developer Argent – part of the Piccadilly Partnership of private-sector developers, and creator of nearby Piccadilly Place – publish alternative £25m plans to transform the building into a music and arts venue.
2008: Britannia claims its efforts to turn the building into a hotel are being delayed by a ‘never-ending’ list of new requirements from council bosses.
2009: The council reveals plans to seek a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to force Britannia to sell the building.
June 2010: Britannia unveils detailed plans to turn the property into a four-star 227-bed hotel.
Sep 2010: Britannia wins planning permission for the hotel – but the council announces it will press on with the CPO.
Apr 2011: A public inquiry opens. Developers McBains Cooper tell the hearing that alternative council plans to pass the building on to a new developer are ‘unrealistic’.
Nov 2012: It emerges the town hall has lost its bid to force the sale – after spending £700,000 on the case.
Mar 2012: In a letter to English Heritage, Britannia’s financial director Robert Ferrari admits plans to develop the Grade II-listed building while preserving its historic features would not be sustainable ‘either in the current climate or the sustainable future’.
Nov 2012: Council leader Sir Richard Leese announces the council is in the process of making a formal offer to buy the building from Britannia.
Dec 2012: Eric Pickles tells the council it must pay Britannia’s legal fees of up to £750,000, alongside its own £700,000 costs.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #672
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Thanks hulmeman. Grim reading though.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 04:52 PM   #673
moveupandon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
Thanks hulmeman. Grim reading though.
So grim! People say 'do not insult' Pickles! But so so hard. I wonder if this current government or its civil servants play political spite?

Dec 2012: Eric Pickles tells the council it must pay Britannia’s legal fees of up to £750,000, alongside its own £700,000 costs.

I doubt I'll get a reply to my email to him. So he has basically given the green light to Britannia to destroy as they want?

Words cannot express my contempt for this situation. This government loves controversial decisions in damaging local people / councils, they probably loves the accolade of being hated and showing the public they are powerless against corporations.

As for Alex Langsam, please those pity me comments from Britannia after of 26 yrs of ....! If that's the most the 'PR' geniuses can come up with... !!! These should be Alex Langsams costs not a cities in austerity.

It borders on neglectful/deceitful/childish 'it's all mine' business 'ethics' in terms of the sheer deceit and destructiveness. Unacceptable and in so many legal cases your word would be your bond and therefore responsible for costs if they were broken. Bloody medieval, land baron ridiculous planning laws.

Shameful and this is why this story needs exposure news and all of us to stand up against it! Enough!!!!

Last edited by moveupandon; December 26th, 2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:32 AM   #674
Sir Miles Platting
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Shouldn't say this, but a bolt of Jewish Lightning might be the only answer to this dilemma.

We lose the building, but clear a large chunk of real estate for a new development.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:01 PM   #675
Schooner
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London Rd Fire Station

With regard to the latest set back,regarding the London Rd fire station,and the fact that Britannia hotels Ltd, has owned this building for 30 years,what are your views on this,considering that they are allowing this great building to rot.
Britannia have had planning permission to convert this building into a hotel for some time,and the permission runs out in 2014,the governmnent (Mr Pickles) has turned down the city councils attempt to aquire it under copulsory purchase,and its future is once again in the hands of a third rate hotel company.
This building is in a very important position,and requires attention,where should we go from here.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:10 PM   #676
loweskid
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See here....

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...274281&page=34
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:21 PM   #677
Schooner
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Originally Posted by loweskid View Post
Thanks for that young man,I have not seen that before,can you tell me, just where on the forum,this appears,under which heading.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #678
Schooner
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Eric Pickles is a yorkshireman,did this have anything to do with his decision.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:30 PM   #679
loweskid
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If you look at the top of the page, just under the banner, it tells you where you are. You can go 'up' a level or more by clicking on the links....

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Old December 18th, 2012, 09:46 PM   #680
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Thankyou Loweskid, i did not know that that page existed.
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