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Geoffrey Settle

Should Warrington sell it's assets to the Private Sector?

Should Warrington sell off its Crown Jewels to Private Enterprise to survive?  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Warrington sell off its Crown Jewels to Private Enterprise to survive?

    • No; I?m concerned about the detrimental impact on the environment
    • No; it should remain under Warrington?s control
    • Yes; if safeguards are put in place
    • Yes; sell it off with no safeguards
    • I?d like to see another way to save these Jewels


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With Andy Farell [Executive director for environment and regeneration] recommending the sale of the Walton Hall estate for ?26million and a proposal by Gulliver?s World build a RESORT in Sankey Valley as an extension to it's empire.

 

Do you think such Crown Jewels should be sold off?

 

On the 10/14/09 Warrington Worldwide reported that:

The creation of a high quality hotel and conference centre through expansion, renovation and refurbishment of the [Walton] hall would be of great benefit to the town's economy, according to a report to be considered by the council's executive board? Mr Farrall says there is a risk that if the project is not progressed swiftly, the interest of potential partners could be lost.

 

http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/articles/6509/1/Walton-Hall-revamp-to-cost-26m/Page1.html

 

I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon last weekend walking the dog around the estate and visiting the Christmas Fair. I remember running in the excellent Corporate Cup organised by Clive Jones and his team, numerous School Cross Country events, visits to the Zoo with my children and the fun that they had on the pitch and put and later as they grew up the golf course. Walking around the Green Houses was a pleasant experience, alas no longer and I have attended many courses and meetings as a school governor. Would these be at risk by such a sale?

 

The Sankey Valley Resort proposals by Gulliver?s World consist of 4 main areas:

 

♦ Central Park: The core of the resort focused around a new visitor hub adjacent to the historic Sankey Canal and Bewsey Old Hall and gardens.

♦ The Village: An area focussed on the resorts family accommodation comprising camping pods, touring caravans, cabin and group lodges all within a woodland setting.

♦ The Meadows: An area providing all year round access with attractions including a unique

new indoor role play park, farm and Eco Park.

♦ Theme Park: This builds on the success of the existing Gulliver?s World with improved access, car parking and new and improved attractions together with the provision of a new hotel and proposed Burtonwood Airbase attraction.

http://www.warringtonandco.com/Images/SVP%20Resort%20Exec%20Board%2016th%20Nov%202009%20_2_%20SMB%20_2__tcm37-39387.pdf

 

I?ve always enjoyed this area for walks especially in the summer, tremendous variety of wildlife, it was a also a great place for the Warrington 4*4 mile Road relays and an area of tremendous historical value.

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It would be a shame for it to become and extension of an amusement park purely run for profit.

With Andy Farell [Executive director for environment and regeneration] recommending the sale of the Walton Hall estate for ?26million and a proposal by Gulliver?s World expansion to name two do you think such developments should be sold off?

 

As a golfer geoff, and as an ex-member of Walton Hall, I can only say yes, it can;t come quickly enough.

 

Whoever runs parks and gardens has been wholly negligent in their handling of what was at one time one of the best courses in the NW. You can see it is still there, hidden behind the mismanagement that has caused it to go downhill for a number of years.

 

It's clear the only way to save it is by going to a private enterprise, because the council's record is shocking..

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I've enjoyed Walton gardens, when we've had a Summer; but I certainly wouldn't pay extra to go there, in the same way I wouldn't pay for a toll road :roll: .

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Why does a Council own a stately home anyway? It was a private dwelling in the first place. Sell it, allow someone to run it properly so it flourishes and spend the windfall and subsequent saving on running costs putting a roof over the heads of every Warrington family currently living in B&B accommodation. It's obscene to be paying for refurb on a wedding venue when basic services are lacking.

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Why does a Council own a stately home anyway? It was a private dwelling in the first place. Sell it, allow someone to run it properly so it flourishes and spend the windfall and subsequent saving on running costs putting a roof over the heads of every Warrington family currently living in B&B accommodation. It's obscene to be paying for refurb on a wedding venue when basic services are lacking.
There I disagree LP. If it makes money, then there is obviously a net benefit to the council by continuing to own it.

 

However does it make money? The golf course still does I believe, but traffic is down by over two thirds on what it once was due to appalling mismanagement, so get rid in that case and put the money elsewhere.

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It is incorrect to say that WBC are selling off the Walton Hall Estate for ?26 million. The Hall itself will be part of a joint venture between WBC and a private investor, resulting in an investment of ?23 million to create an upmarket "boutique" style of hotel and conference facility.

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It is incorrect to say that WBC are selling off the Walton Hall Estate for ?26 million. The Hall itself will be part of a joint venture between WBC and a private investor, resulting in an investment of ?23 million to create an upmarket "boutique" style of hotel and conference facility.

 

but would it be true to say that the council would then not own the Hall though? because surely someone isn't going to turn up, hand over 26 million quid and then not expect some kind of tangible asset for its cash.....

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The plan is that the Hall will remain in the ownership of WBC, however the private investor will keep the profits of the hotel, and hence their return on their investment. The investor already operates very successfully on the same basis elsewhere.

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The plan is that the Hall will remain in the ownership of WBC,.

 

Which translates in layman's terms as;.....

The public will lose any chance of access to the hall and will also no doubt lose the access they presently enjoy to some portion of the grounds...(possibly the Rose Gardens?) and the council will have successfully offloaded all responsibility.

 

... however the private investor will keep the profits of the hotel, and hence their return on their investment.

 

So they get a very profitable business with absolutely no risk of loss whatever and after they've recovered their outgoings it's profit all the way.

 

The investor already operates very successfully on the same basis elsewhere.

 

I'll bet they do!

 

And the public are not only expected to accept this but be absolutely delighted with it!

 

Whaaahey! what are they on at the town hall ?!! :lol::lol::lol:

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... however the private investor will keep the profits of the hotel, and hence their return on their investment.

 

So they get a very profitable business with absolutely no risk of loss whatever and after they've recovered their outgoings it's profit all the way.

:lol: If only life were that simple.

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Which translates in layman's terms as;.....

The public will lose any chance of access to the hall

 

It is a fact that the public have very little access to the Hall now and most of the time no access. As a Hotel, they will in fact have more access, as the Hotel will be wanting to encourage them to use the facilities.

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So they get a very profitable business with absolutely no risk of loss whatever and after they've recovered their outgoings it's profit all the way.

 

 

Well not quite, they have to invest their millions first of all, and will only make money if their business plan works.

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PS Forgot to mention that there is one "slight obstacle" to the plan......but it is being addressed at the moment, and time will tell. :wink:

 

Personally I think the Estate should be a "Grace & Favour" home for the Ward Councillor. :D:D:D

 

PPS When I said "slight" I was being ironic. :wink:

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My understanding is that WBC will take the lead in the development of a Golf Academy and work in partnership with others to bring this about.

 

As a non golfer I can't comment on the quality of the existing golf course, although golfers I know say that it is a challenging course....whatever that means.

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My understanding is that WBC will take the lead in the development of a Golf Academy and work in partnership with others to bring this about.

 

As a non golfer I can't comment on the quality of the existing golf course, although golfers I know say that it is a challenging course....whatever that means.

Oh it's a great course, but it's been let go, and once that happens word spreads and people don't show up.

 

You'd be able to get the figures I'm sure, but I've been led to belive there used to be 90,000 rounds pa played there, now it's under 30,000. A helluva reduction in revenue, and solely down to the state of the course. If you don't invest, then you reap the rewards. A good municipal will always more than pay for itself, but golfers won't be ripped off.

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Personally I think the Estate should be a "Grace & Favour" home for the Ward Councillor. :D:D:D

 

Would you want a peerage to go with it? :wink:

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Well the ?200 a day (which one Peer has described as an utter insult) would come in handy Peter. Think I'd look great in my ermine clad robes, mowing the lawns or up the ladders cleaning the gutters out. :D

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PS Forgot to mention that there is one "slight obstacle" to the plan......but it is being addressed at the moment, and time will tell. :wink:

 

Paul, as councillor for that ward do you not think it is your duty to inform the public of any "slight obstacle" to the plan.....BEFORE the slight obstacle happens to be resolved 'behind closed doors'?

 

I can think of a number of 'obstacles' most obvious one being that the public (who actually own the hall & gardens) will be hopping mad and contest the project!

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Well the ?200 a day (which one Peer has described as an utter insult) would come in handy Peter. Think I'd look great in my ermine clad robes, mowing the lawns or up the ladders cleaning the gutters out. :D

 

Paul are WBC turning into a conservative council?

This current economic climate seems to be guiding local and national government in all kinds of directions, selling things off (Walton Hall, etc) to the private sector struggling to sustain services or just cancelling them, trying to save tax payers money, yet bills keep on rising, eventually when everything is sold off, council departments privatized, what control will the councillors have of this borough and who will really be in charge at the town hall, fat cats from the private sector?...isn?t this what the conservative party wanted all along? God help us all in 2010.

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PS Forgot to mention that there is one "slight obstacle" to the plan......but it is being addressed at the moment, and time will tell. :wink:

 

Paul, as councillor for that ward do you not think it is your duty to inform the public of any "slight obstacle" to the plan.....BEFORE the slight obstacle happens to be resolved 'behind closed doors'?

 

Surely if a 'slight' obstacle is resolvable (even behind closed doors) then the obstacle must be easily removable and not that serious in the first place :?

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