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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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Paul are WBC turning into a conservative council?

 

One can but live in hope. :wink::)

 

PS Walton Hall is not being sold off.

 

PPS The problem with WBC's finances is that it has borrowings of about ?130 million accumulated over the years together with a pension deficit of a similar amount. Coupled to which there is another potential financial burden, the housing stock.

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Paul are WBC turning into a conservative council?

 

One can but live in hope. :wink::)

 

PS Walton Hall is not being sold off.

 

PPS The problem with WBC's finances is that it has borrowings of about ?130 million accumulated over the years together with a pension deficit of a similar amount. Coupled to which there is another potential financial burden, the housing stock.

 

Paul thank you for your replay,

as a matter of interest, with the recent pay awards to 53% of the WBC workforce will WBC have enough in reserve without making further possible redundancies or the loss of council services?

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Political twaddle and point scoring aside....

 

On 14th October warrington worldwide reported the following

 

There is a restrictive covenant that prevents part of the estate being used for the sale and consumption of alcohol, and another which prohibits the hall or any other building within the estate being operated as a hotel.

Executive director for environment and regeneration Andy Farrall said: "Unless these restrictions can be removed, they will compromise the council's aspirations for the estate.

"In order to lift the restriction, the council will require the agreement of the beneficiary. This is currently being pursued."

 

Currently there are no public details available on the land registry website regaring Walton Hall and gardens and therefore no covenant details or land titles are available.

 

This is somewhat understandable though as compulsary registration has not always applied and most older pieces of land (and indeed buildings) only get registered when they eventually change ownership or are voluntairily registered by the 'owners'.

 

Many local authority 'owned' land and building still remain unregistered, which to be honest I find rather odd and in this instance if I owned something as spectacular as Walton Hall and it's gardens I would register it :D

 

Many deeds sit safely in local authority solicitors safes and many old covenants simply sit it dusty drawers or have since been 'lost' whereby the proof of a covenant restriction is often hard to ascertain and details are recorded 'as best as possible'.

 

OK so I am waffling :lol:

 

Greenall's were the ones for creating covenants and restrictions in their day on all indentures and conveyance of land etc any and the points reported by WWW are not unusual.

 

Similar restriction are made on the land which St Thomas School near Alexander Park sits on. This has a covenant saying that it is ONLY allowed to be used for a school serving the local community etc etc. Mill Lane Playing Fields and the other field has a 'for public use only' covenant etc and the sale of alcohol is prohibited there too. :lol:

 

Although I would suspect with something as grand as Walton Hall and its land there may be many more restrictions which of course joe public would never be aware of.

 

Stockton Heath Primary School which was built in 1910 was 'said' to have NO restrictive covenants on it and despite a lot of searching as the council had never bothered to register it with Land registry their word had to be taken..... that was until 18 NOVEMBER 2009 ONE MONTH AGO !! where the council finally decided to register it (100 years later) and low and behold TWO restrictive covenants suddenly appear and have been filed one being from from 1908 and one from 1928. :roll:

 

Call me cynical here but is it in the best interests of Local Authorities to NOT voluntairily register certain pieces of land and buildings they are in charge of thus allowing them a bit more freedom to make certain decisions or to even remove or water down protective covenants where appropriate without the public ever knowing. :?:evil:

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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 :?

 

 

 

The 'slight' obstacle :wink: that Paul is winking about Dis is not in fact 'slight'.

 

As we all remember from the Exec boards actions re Stockton Heath Primary, public opinion however large counts for sweet nothing and is trampled upon quite openly! But despite the severe political backlash re the school I don't think public opinion is high on this agenda either.

( If it was, wouldn't the public have been consulted long before exorbitantly expensive consultants were employed?).

 

So it is doubtless that it will be 'behind closed doors' that every effort will be being made to remove final obstacles.

 

The only people to whom public opinion will be important will be those hoping to be elected next year, so lets hope they are working hard in the public's interest, because that's what the public will be expecting them to be doing!

After South Warrington's experiences re the school, excuses are unlikely to be accepted. :twisted:

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A lot of people round here still talk about the whole School fiasco Sha and still air their disgust about what went on, even those who were in favour of the new school have since had a change of heart :?

 

But what is done is done and there no way of going back so no point in dwelling.

 

Maybe lessons have at least been learned (although I have it on good authority that apparently the same can't be said within the new 21st century school building due to it's thin walls between classrooms :? ) and the same situation or bad decisions will not happen again.

 

Maybe our paths have crossed at some time over the school and possible other things too Sha and if they ever the have I hope I was polite to you :lol::oops:

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Well researched Dismayed, there are indeed restrictive covenants.

The irony of them is not lost on me. :wink::) Anyway just hope that it all gets sorted so that the Estate can be renovated.

 

Years ago Oxford City Council had a similar situation regarding the upkeep of Headington Hill Hall, the way they resolved it was to rent it for a few thousand pounds a year to Robert Maxwell :shock:, which he did for 32 years, he then took over its upkeep and in fairness he really did look after the hall and its grounds...prior to jumping ship. Mr Maxwell described Headington Hill Hall as the "best council house in the country".....although in his latter years he did turn HHH in to a fortress, although Headington Hill Park remained opened to the public. I was born just down the road from it.

 

Funnily enough non registration of substantial properties and land is not unique to local authorities, unfortunately I have just been dealing with such a situation within my own family. :(

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Paul are WBC turning into a conservative council?

 

One can but live in hope. :wink::)

 

PS Walton Hall is not being sold off.

 

PPS The problem with WBC's finances is that it has borrowings of about ?130 million accumulated over the years together with a pension deficit of a similar amount. Coupled to which there is another potential financial burden, the housing stock.

 

Paul thank you for your replay,

as a matter of interest, with the recent pay awards to 53% of the WBC workforce will WBC have enough in reserve without making further possible redundancies or the loss of council services?

 

I understand that money has been put aside in reserves sometime ago in order to make the payment.

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Paul are WBC turning into a conservative council?

Paul thank you for your replay,

as a matter of interest, with the recent pay awards to 53% of the WBC workforce will WBC have enough in reserve without making further possible redundancies or the loss of council services?

 

I understand that money has been put aside in reserves sometime ago in order to make the payment.

 

Paul WBC must have alot of reserves, I have heard that on average employees are getting between ?1000-?1500 back pay, times by 53% of the workforce is a lot of money. I hope this will not mean any threat of redundancies?

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Your flaunting your ignorance again Fats - Councils are cash strapped through lack of funds, 75% of which comes from central Government; if Government are spending it all on pretending to be a military power in Afghanistan or bailing out bankers, there will be less for rate support grants - hence a knock on effect throughout all budgets. :roll:

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Your flaunting your ignorance again Fats - Councils are cash strapped through lack of funds, 75% of which comes from central Government; if Government are spending it all on pretending to be a military power in Afghanistan or bailing out bankers, there will be less for rate support grants - hence a knock on effect throughout all budgets. :roll:

 

And interestingly Warrington gets the minimum 1.5%, the average for England is 3.6% and for similar councils it is 5.0%. Seems as though our MPs aren't banging the drum for Warrington...or if they are they need to get a bigger drum. Hopefully their replacements will do a better job....if there is any money left.

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Paul WBC must have alot of reserves, I have heard that on average employees are getting between ?1000-?1500 back pay, times by 53% of the workforce is a lot of money. I hope this will not mean any threat of redundancies?

 

I understand that the reserves are sufficient to meet the payment.

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Paul WBC must have alot of reserves, I have heard that on average employees are getting between ?1000-?1500 back pay, times by 53% of the workforce is a lot of money. I hope this will not mean any threat of redundancies?

 

I understand that the reserves are sufficient to meet the payment.

 

Paul, as ever, your replies are quick, responsive and to the point, you must feel like a tennis player hitting back the replies from the questions from the WWW forum.

I can see why you are in politics! Excellent!

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Well researched Dismayed, there are indeed restrictive covenants.

 

Simply elementary my dear Watson... and it only took me 20 seconds. Knew most of it already from a past life :D:wink:

 

So which dusty drawer do the full Walton Hall indentures and conyeyance docs sit in then.. can you have a peak and scribble some additional notes or get me another copy as they are wonderful things to read even though a bit longwinded with strange old language and terms....

 

I guess not as these things are classed as 'secret' :lol::wink:

 

Infact I think that where such documents exist in relation to any public/parish/council 'owned' buildings/land then transcripts of the documents should be freely available for public viewing in the local history archives in Warrington or Chester.

 

Like I said they are fascinating to read :D

 

The irony of them is not lost on me. :wink::) Anyway just hope that it all gets sorted so that the Estate can be renovated.

 

Never for one minute thought it would be Paul :lol::wink:

 

Hope it all gets sorted too but not in a way that involves simply wiping out a restriction which may be in the way but was originally put in place at the time of a sale or transfer to safequard the building/land for it's future use.

 

The old Greenalls were rather particular when it came to safeguarding their land and asset transfers to ensure that many were 'forever' held in the public domain and were used to the benefit of the local community as intended.

 

I guess the newer Greenall generation may not feel the same way though and may be more than willing to remove their ancestors restrictions and wishes :wink::?

 

Interesting stuff about Headington Hill Hall. Maybe you could follow in Robert Maxwells footsteps and rent Walton Hall.

I'd offer myself but I am a bit of a whimp when it comes down to tales of ghosts and haunted buildings :shock::shock::?

 

Funnily enough non registration of substantial properties and land is not unique to local authorities, unfortunately I have just been dealing with such a situation within my own family. :(

 

It can be a bit of a minefield and it also depends on where in the country the 'substantial' property is too as different areas had different forms of registration.

 

Some places had 'Deed Registries' prior to the days of land registration. These contained records of some land transactions but the deeds were registered in the names of the people involved and not by an actual address. Land Registry can help you with searching the deed registries but you would to know the name of a previous owner of the property.

 

The 'Land Charges Department' .....(cant for the life of me remember if they are the same department as the other ones based in Plymouth who also deal with unregistered land and charges)..... also hold details of many old covenants on land and if yours is a substantial and old property then chances are there may be some sort of restriction or covenant on it even it if just something as simple as relating to a right of drainage blah blah.

 

Again these are often registered under the name of the land owner at the time the covenant and the entry will not be eassily found against the land or property address itself. :wink:

 

Depending on the age of the building you could also try the online Tithe Map search facility on the Chester Archives Site. It shows old land ownership... so maybe you could work forwards :wink:

 

Anyway Good luck.. :D

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This sounds like a strange sort of 'joint venture' when one party has some kind of lease on the Hall part of the Walton Estate (and presumably some of the grounds) and knocks the present construction into a state of the art hotel - with necessary extensions - and pockets any profits from their investment !! Lest we forget, successive Labour Councils could not stomach the Tory image of the former Greenall Estate and over a period of some thirty years after it was aquired for a song at a time when World War 2 was going badly and there was no real guide on property and land values (a 150 acre farm could be bought for less than ?10 grand) the Hall was toally neglected - one of the gardeners kept hens in former bedrooms - to the extent that over half of the original structure become riddled with dry rot and was demolished in the 1970s. A similar fete has befallen the once prestidgious and unique glass house complex which has been closed and neglected for years and will now cost millions if ever restored. We are now approaching six months since the July deadline for expressions of interest in Walton Estate investment and still no word on the promised public consultation - as a long departed friend used to say "tell them nothing feed them rice".

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Why is WBC dragging it's feet in revealing who the prospecrive 'investor' is and settng up public consultation ??

 

Perhaps they are not going to reveal who the prospective investor is until they have 'done the deal' dotted the I's and crossed the T's, because if the public knew who the investor was it might be easy enough to quess what form the 'development' will take. All this secrecy is probably because the 'development' planned is not expected to be popular with the public, so the details won't be revealed until after the election! :evil:

As for public consultation Pedro there isn't going to be one!

The Hall deal is almost done. I suppose you may possibly be able to give an opinin on what will be left of the grounds......if you think there's any chance it will be taken into serious consideration ?? :roll::roll::?:

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Alas Sha, you don't know what you are talking about. In addition some matters in early stages of tentative discussions are commercially sensitive, it is therefore normal practice, and certainly one that I'm very familiar with, not to reveal the names of investors.

 

There isn't a done deal at this stage.

 

And with regards to consultation, guess what it's called a Planning Application.

 

Furthermore, and at my request, two senior officers from WBC Estates Department made an hour long presentation with questions and answers at Walton Parish Council earlier this month, a number of residents also attended. At my request also there will be a further such meetings if and when there are more concrete proposals with regards to the plans for the Estate, in particular the Hall and its derelict buildings.

 

What I can say, at this stage, the proposals should they come to fruition, seem to me to be an excellent way forward for both the Estate and Warrington Council Taxpayers. Anyway time will tell and you can rest assured that I will be keeping a close eye on matters.

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Alas Sha, you don't know what you are talking about.

 

Well don't I really?? :roll:

 

In addition some matters in early stages of tentative discussions are commercially sensitive, it is therefore normal practice, and certainly one that I'm very familiar with, not to reveal the names of investors.

 

There isn't a done deal at this stage

.

 

Yes Paul, we are all aware of 'standard practice' due to commercial sensitivity.

 

I didn't actually say that the deal was completed, I said;-

 

"Perhaps they are not going to reveal who the prospective investor is until they have 'done the deal' dotted the I's and crossed the T's".

 

As negotiations are in fact well advanced and the Exec have already made a decision to go ahead with developing the Hall via the private sector and are at present negotiating with the beneficiary to see if the 'barriers' to the investors proposals (ie the covenants) " can be overcome (dotted the I's and crossed the T's...so to speak) I fail to see why the public have not,at this rather advanced stage, been informed as to the full details of the proposal.

Thus my wondering whether the reason was in fact;-

 

...... " because if the public knew who the investor was it might be easy enough to quess what form the 'development' will take."

 

and my summising that;-

 

....." All this secrecy is probably because the 'development' planned is not expected to be popular with the public, so the details won't be revealed until after the election!"

 

I then went on in answer to Pedro's post;-

 

...."As for public consultation Pedro there isn't going to be one!

The Hall deal is almost done. I suppose you may possibly be able to give an opinion on what will be left of the grounds......if you think there's any chance it will be taken into serious consideration ?? "

 

You replied;-

.

And with regards to consultation, guess what it's called a Planning Application.

 

Well, quess what, I think most members of the public would have expected, with regards to Walton Hall a publicly owned asset, that consultation should involve assessing public opinion on the future of this publicly owned asset and to ascertain WHETHER or NOT this publicly owned asset SHOULD BE offloaded to the private sector or NOT/b]!

Furthermore it might have been expected that this initial consultation would have been done PRIOR TO engaging the very expensive services of consultants to produce plans and find investors for proposals with the private sector which the public may not want...for the future of their publicly owned asset!

 

A planning application Paul, after an Exec decision has been made is exactly that.

Any public opinion as part of the consultation process of such a planning application will count for as little as the 5000+ did during the planning application for Stockton Heath Community Primary, or Longbarn, Woolston, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, :roll::roll::roll::evil:

Hence my aside.......

"......if you think there's any chance it will be taken into serious consideration ??"

 

There seems to be quite some difference in what members of the public regard as 'public consultation' and what passes for 'public consultation' for the Exec.

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Well, quess what, I think most members of the public would have expected, with regards to Walton Hall a publicly owned asset, that consultation should involve assessing public opinion on the future of this publicly owned asset and to ascertain WHETHER or NOT this publicly owned asset SHOULD BE offloaded to the private sector or NOT/b]!

Furthermore it might have been expected that this initial consultation would have been done PRIOR TO engaging the very expensive services of consultants to produce plans and find investors for proposals with the private sector which the public may not want...for the future of their publicly owned asset!

 

 

Could you define how many is "most", I rather think that the reality is that it is only a small number of people. Maybe you could give your costed and funded alternative proposal for the Estate, in particular the Hall and surrounding derelict buildings.

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