Author Topic: Gas Works Site  (Read 328 times)

Offline shortport

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 558
Gas Works Site
« on: September 11, 2017, 02:51:38 AM »
Is it just me or does anyone else think the recent sale of the Jersey Gas Works site seem a bit fishy.The site had planning permission for 253 apartments yet Andium homes plan to build only 110.So I presume the site was valued at a price which reflected that fact and was purchased by Andium homes,using taxpayers money for an undisclosed sum.Surely that is bad value for the tax payer.Not only is there secrecy over the amount spent(and we will never know because quangos such as Andium don't come under freedom of information requests) but we don't know who the current owners are.The current owners of the site are  Brookfield Tunnell Street Holdings Ltd,but a quick search reveals the directors of this company are FIrst Names group as corporate directors so we don't know who the real owners are.For all we know the current owners could also sit on the board of Andium.Does anyone else think this secrecy all a bit fishy

Offline Jerry Gosselin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 723
Re: Gas Works Site
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 06:56:19 AM »
Yes it's fishy but if any company in Jersey is going to get away scot-free with fishy then it's Andium. They are so fishy they should have a permanent stall in the Beresford Market. They have the highest possible political cover and it looks very much to me like Crowcroft and others in central government must have had this planned for quite some time because you can't just buy a major development site like that in the course of a few days or weeks and then immediately announce your own alternative plans to the public, particularly as it will apparently include a major public car park (but how the hell will we access it when the parish has restricted the flow of traffic so badly in that area of town?).

As for getting Planning permission - no problem at all, Sir (wink, wink!). They might as well just phone in their application (preferably from one of those JT phone boxes where you can call other 01534 numbers for free, thus freeing up some extra funds towards their next multi-million pound purchase). There is more chance of Donald Trump becoming one of the most universally-respected and successful US Presidents in history then there is of Andium's application being turned down at the Planning stage.  ;)

Actually Andium are covered by the Freedom of Information law as I made one of my past requests to them. I can't quite remember but I think I had to make the request direct to Andium rather than through the States FOI page. However, I wouldn't even bother if I were you - they'll obviously exempt anything to do with commercial secrecy. I would expect the usual backbench suspects to ask the usual blunt-edged questions at the next States sitting, but Prikey has a cast-iron excuse - Andium is not the States and so the Minister can't speak on behalf of Andium, etc. etc.  >:(

Interesting as to whether a FOI request direct to the Parish of St Helier might reveal any relevant correspondence that has passed between Crowcroft and Andium but I'm sorry to say I have become just too cynical of the way our government (and local government) runs. Quite frankly if there is anything that they don't want the public to see then they'll exempt it, simple as that. I will let some other person ask the questions about this because I am far too busy dealing with more important things.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 07:05:39 AM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline Jerry Gosselin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 723
Re: Gas Works Site
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 08:05:01 AM »
Prikey made a statement in the House on Tuesday about Andium's purchase of the Gas Works site, which you can read here:

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/assemblystatements/2017/2017.09.12%20minister%20for%20housing%20re%20sale%20of%20gas%20works%20site.pdf

However, of greater interest to me is the report by Channel 103 (12th September) which quotes some of the less than enthusiastic remarks made by States Members in response to her statement. The comment attributed to Deputy John Le Fondré is particularly worth repeating here:

Quote
But Deputy John Le Fondré says he and his fellow politicians have been unwittingly bound to paying for a larger park.

“I wasn’t aware it was States policy to extend the Town Park,” he said.

“It sounds like we’ve been committed to extending the Town Park and committed to sums of money to do that, and we’ve now got a gun to our head if we don’t do that.”

http://www.channel103.com/money-needed-extend-town-park/
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 08:06:49 AM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline shortport

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 558
Re: Gas Works Site
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 03:22:59 AM »
I am all for having less flats and a bigger park,but the fact is i don't trust our government.
Why is the taxpayer paying for land for 253 apartments and only getting 110?Doesn't sound like value for money to me.

Offline Jerry Gosselin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 723
Re: Gas Works Site
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 09:06:46 AM »
Also don't forget that they purchased the Ann Street Brewery and Boiler House sites for a "non-disclosed" sum less than 2 months ago. This from the Bailiwick Express report of 1st August 2017:

Quote
The purchase was processed in the Royal Court last week, but, according to a spokesperson for Andium, the site value is not a matter of public record.

The spokesperson told Express that this is due to a side agreement between Andium and the vendor, meaning that the exact sum that changed hands has been deemed “commercially sensitive”.

https://www.bailiwickexpress.com/jsy/news/andium-buys-brewery-non-disclosed-sum/

So they are getting into the habit of keeping the costs of these purchases confidential.

Also let's not forget that Steve Luce originally approved a massive 285 homes on the Gas Works site in March 2015. The owners then reduced this to 253 the following year. Could you imagine how busy that tiny road would be if Luce's original approval of 285 homes had come to fruition?

That last minute condition added by Steve Pallett (for the developer to pay the sum of £860,000 towards car parking elsewhere in St Helier) is also puzzling me (some other conditions were also attached). I don't know enough about Planning permissions but how often has a developer been told to cough up such a huge amount in return for getting Planning permission? It also sounds fishy. We could speculate that it might have been added in order to make the return on investment much less attractive for the developer, thereby giving the green light for Andium to then approach the developer and make an offer to buy that might have seemed quite generous in the circumstances.

Would the developer still have been so keen to sell to Andium if Pallett hadn't added that requirement to pay £860,000 (and the other conditions)? The sale to Andium happened remarkably soon after Pallett's decision. It also raises the question of whether this will henceforth become the norm - big developers being forced to make huge cash bungs to the States in return for getting Planning approval. I wonder if this would be allowed to happen in the UK or anywhere else. You could argue that it is a kind of unofficial extra tax on developers - pay the tax or don't get your application approved.

http://www.channel103.com/new-plans-jersey-gas-site-revealed/

« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 09:12:04 AM by Jerry Gosselin »

Offline shortport

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 558
Re: Gas Works Site
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 05:40:08 PM »
 big developers being forced to make huge cash bungs to the States in return for getting Planning approval.
I'm sure something like this is the norm already,especially with one infamous developer we all know and loathe