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Council to receive £1.2m car parking income boost

Money from Parkway developer expected 'within weeks' after dispute resolved

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Counting the cost of the Parkway dispute

CASH-strapped West Berkshire Council is set to receive £1.2m in car parking revenue from Parkway developer Standard Life Investments (SLI) ‘within weeks’.

Before construction began at Parkway, the council sold public land to SLI for £1 on the basis that a fee of around £300,000 was received in parking revenue each year.

However, the council has yet to receive a single penny owing to its ongoing dispute with the developer over the affordable homes at Parkway.

In 2008, West Berkshire Council paid £900,000 of taxpayers’ money to SLI to ensure that 37 of the 147 homes being built at Parkway were affordable.

The 37 units were completed in early 2013, but were still unoccupied at the start of 2016 as SLI had not appointed a social housing provider to manage them.

After growing tired of SLI’s delays, the council refused to transfer ownership of the land until the issue was resolved and took the unprecedented step of blocking the sale of new private homes.

But the council’s tough stance came at a cost.

The council said that before the car parking money can be exchanged, a land transfer must take place between the two parties, but that this cannot be done until the agreement for the affordable homes is signed off.

However, SLI has repeatedly contradicted that claim, saying that the car parking revenue was not linked to the affordable homes, and blamed the council for the delay.

In August 2015, SLI announced that it had finally exchanged contracts with One Housing Group – a leading developer and provider of homes and housing in London and the South East.

Now SLI has completed the contract for the affordable homes, the council says it will immediately stop blocking the sale of private homes.

The land transfer from West Berkshire Council to SLI can then take place and, as a result, the council will receive four years-worth of car parking income, worth in the region of £1m.

This week a spokesman for West Berkshire Council, Martin Dunscombe, said: “Around half the affordable homes at Parkway are occupied.

“We expect to receive the money in the next few weeks; it will be four years worth of money at around £300,000 per year.”

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Article comments

  • Blizzard

    24/10/2016 - 19:07

    Wow... just wow. How in the name of God do WBC keep their jobs. Sure SLI are at part to blame. Every developer will try this crap. In business you put in safe guards to avoid getting bent over.

    Reply

  • andymoss

    24/10/2016 - 16:04

    well done WBC for not giving in to the greedy developers who tried to avoid paying what they owed in order to maximise their profits. You had to make some difficult decisions which had some unfortunate knock-on effects. Yes I am sure you may have handled them differently looking back but lets not forget the root cause of all these problems was SLI and not WBC...

    Reply

  • NewburyDenizen

    24/10/2016 - 13:01

    I don't understand how, just because they're the council, screwups like this are just overlooked, in the private sector, you waste £900,000, you'll be out of a job before you could finish saying the word "Incompetent". I wonder how much value has been lost on the properties sitting empty for three years?

    Reply

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