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Sha

Walton Hall and Gardens SOLD

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You cynic Peter :lol::wink:

 

Can't say I hadn't thought the same too though especially as it was only anounced at the start of the actual scrutiny call-in decision meeting. Even the councillors and board members sitting round the table 'apparently' didn't know about Contessas sudden withdrawal as it was only received late that same day.

 

The anouncement resulted in those speaking in opposition etc (including a solicitor) basically having to re-write their speaches as they spoke as most of what they were going to say had become somewhat irrelevant with the fact that Contessa had pulled out.

 

So basically what WAS going to be a rather indepth scrutiny meeting, with a probable referal to Full Council, was completely dumbed down hence nothing of real substance being divulged or reported by the press and no council wrists slapped in public for wrong procedure etc :wink:

 

It could also have just been scare tactics by Contessa though and for all we know the council could be bending over backwards to try and entice them back in the very near future (after they have completed their brief consultation exercise with the advisory groups and public of course :wink: )

 

See what you have done now Peter... you have got me being over cynical too :wink::lol:

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After the truly disgraceful tactics employed by the Executive Board so far is there anybody in Warrington who isn't cynical?

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After the truly disgraceful tactics employed by the Executive Board so far is there anybody in Warrington who isn't cynical?

Well I've always found that "observer" chap to be a pretty cheery and positive fellow. :lol:

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:lol:

Well Contessa have now apparently given a slight insight into why the suddenly pulled out according to the WG. It says :

 

Contessa have apparently firstly criticised the councils 'resistence' to involve the public and support groups (don't they mean 'opposition groups??).

 

Contessa say they have wanted to embrace the community and provide enhanced facilities for our enjoyment but the details have never been available for public consumption.

 

......... I wonder if they can now claim compensation for any losses incurred due to WBC's incompetence :shock:

 

They also say that 'inacurate' public information put forward by the campaign groups has also been a contributing factor in them pulling out.

 

?? .............I wonder which bits are innacurate then? Most came through FOI requests and other council sources according to the group involved. So maybe if Contessa and the council hadn't been so secretive any inacuracies, if they do actually exist, could have immediately been addressed and corrected :roll: ..........

 

Contessa also say that their directors are still 100% committed to their current proposals and are saddened by this latest turn of events.

 

So I guess still being so committed they may be back then :wink: but this time with all their cards clearly laid out on the table for all to see and comment/advise on :wink::?

 

I feel quite sorry for Contessa in a way as they have had a right slagging off over it all when at the end of the day none of it is their fault. :shock:

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[quote="Dizzy

I feel quite sorry for Contessa in a way as they have had a right slagging off over it all when at the end of the day none of it is their fault. ]

 

None of it is their fault?????? :shock:

So who then have the Exec been conducting these behind the door deals with?

Deals in which the Exec's 'aspiration' and Contessa's offer seem uncanningly similar, - a procurement process which involved Contessa as the only offer in the running.

 

Who were prepared to negotiate a 150yr lease, the purpose of which was to attempt to avoid public outcry by disguising the fact that it was a sell-off? - or rather at ?1 per yr rental - a give away!

 

Contessa also must have been aware that the main reasons being put forward for the need for a private investor was to 'save our heritage' but that in actual fact the glasshouses were to be demolished and the riding school 'redeveloped'.

etc. etc. etc.

 

Contessa must have been aware from the beginning what's been going on and they must have been aware of the extent of public concern. So why no intervention? not even a statement to the press!

They now say there's been 'innacuracies', well their certainly has, but not originating from any campaign groups!

 

Before you start feeling sorry for Contessa Diz, ask yourself just what kind of people would take from the general public a much loved and very much needed public asset......and for a pittance too!

Pretty much the same kind of people who would offer it to them!

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I feel quite sorry for Contessa in a way as they have had a right slagging off over it all when at the end of the day none of it is their fault. :shock:

 

None of it is their fault?????? :shock:

So who then have the Exec been conducting these behind the door deals with?

As Dizzy says, hardly their fault is it? They find themselves in the position of exclusive bidders, what are they supposed to do? It is not their decision to sell off Walton Hall, they are simply the company that was going to benefit from it.

 

If you're blaming Contessa in this, then I wonder how many of your other points are also similarly off.

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Did I rattle your cage or something Sha :roll: Anway as you have told me off I will answer you accordingly :lol:

 

If Contessa approached the council BEFORE the invitation for expression of interest was published by Humberts Leisure re the 'rare business opportunity' available then please disregard the rest of my comments...

 

However if Contessa approched the council AFTER seeing the 'invitation for interest' proposal literature then please read on......

 

This is/was a business opportunity advertised via a third party on behalf of WBC. As Contessa are obviously a business who like this sort of thing looking at their past workings then why would they not apply ?

 

Walton Hall Estate and Golf Course must have looked like a great opportunity to them to enlarge their portfolio.... remember is was/is classed as a 'business opportunity.

 

I agree that a 150 year lease and ?1 a year rent for the first 25 years is not acceptable but WHO actually put this forward as a suggestion? If it was Contessa then the council could have simply said 'sod off you must be joking' but they didn't... but these were accepted and I suspect they were the councils terms that were offered to Contessa as a real and total sell off was not possible due to the fact that it is public property.

 

Yes C would have known all about the public concern but with WBC being the string pullers and ultimate deal decider and with nothing having been signed C would not be free to go off and make statements to the press or public saying especially when WBC themselves were so intent on keeping it all under wraps and saying that no investor or plan had yet been decided :wink: .... you don't bite the hand that is feeding you do you although I would be tempted to bit the hand that is gagging my mouth :wink:

 

Maybe with the plans being so advanced Contessa wanted to be openly public but obviously divulging more details could have landed the council in big trouble for the above reasons as after all no consultation had been carried out.... WHICH IS AGAINST STATUTORY PROCEDURE :wink:

 

'Inacuracies'.... I agree with you on that one as so many inacuracies have since been proved to be true :wink:

 

And in anwser to your final point of 'ask yourself just what kind of people would take from the general public a much loved and very much needed public asset......and for a pittance too'

 

my answer is....... anyone in business who can see that an offered business opportunity and deal is too good to miss and if they don't take it someone else will.

 

I still don't think it's all their fault 8) If you were offered it on a 25 year lease for ?1 a year with no worry about consequences or loss of investment with a pay back compensation scheme if your business fails to deliver would you take it :wink:

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No Diz, YOU have not rattled my cage, the Exec Board and Contessa have done that!

One of the most baffling issues re Contessa becoming the 'prefered partner' was that the 'rare business opportunity' available - to fulfil the Exec's 'aspiration' matched so perfectly Contessa's offer and in doing so effectively discluded any other contenders.

The procurement process was a farce, and Contessa have more than enough experience of business dealings to realise the irregularities in this.

 

Re the lease;- from the Exec Agenda (for the part of the meeting from which the public and press were excluded)

 

"5. THE LEASE

5.1. Ideally, Contessa would wish to acquire the freehold title of the Hall and other key buildings within the estate as it makes financing future projects easier. However, the Chief Estates & Valuation Officer advises that it is preferable for the Council to retain the freehold title in order to facilitate the regeneration through a long lease for the following reasons:

 

? Enables the Council to retain greater control over the future development rather than just through the Planning process.

? Ultimately provides a revenue stream

? Avoids adverse publicity associated with selling the freehold title

 

Therefore, a key element of the negotiations became a point of principle. Any progress was to be based on a leasehold arrangement. Terms are provisionally agreed for a long lease on the following terms:......"

 

Contessa were well aware of the Exec's intention to mislead the public, and yet still quite willing it appears to carry on negotiations. The fact that they are now criticising the council's 'resistance' to involve the public seems rather ironic to me.

 

(quote= Diz) "Maybe with the plans being so advanced Contessa wanted to be openly public but obviously divulging more details could have landed the council in big trouble for the above reasons as after all no consultation had been carried out.... WHICH IS AGAINST STATUTORY PROCEDURE :wink" (/end quote)

 

Er Diz, obviously :roll: divulging more details would have led (as has in fact happened) to the Exec (and Contessa) having to scrap the deal!

 

Diz, you seem to think that anyone in business would have done the same as Contessa.

Actually, I don't. I think most businesses would avoid involvement in dealings with obvious irregularities. I believe most businesses achieve success through skill and hard work.

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Re today's news page;-

 

"Mr Farrall points out there is still a risk that buildings that are in a serious state of dilapidation on the estate continue to decline.

However, this risk can be mitigated through the work of the advisory group being progressed with some urgency."

 

In Mr Farrel's proposals for the Contessa scheme, the 'dilapidated' buildings were being demolished!! So what is the REAL REASON for the 'advisory' group to be progressed with some urgency???

 

Can anyone now believe a word they say?

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so playing devils advocate a minute...... If it isn't to be turned into a hotel and the buildings are going to fall apart without expensive maintenance; what happens when it all goes Pete Tong?

 

The council will have a big open space with no buildings or decent attractions, a car park charging daft rates to park (when many others in close proximity to warrington do not) and very little else.

 

I know that Walton Gardens holds a special place in the hearts of many people from Warrington; me included, but surely now after all the publicity that this has created, there would be a bit more resistance to the plans from a town of umpteen hundred thousand people.

 

So one has to ask: how many people can really be bothered to trek across town to go and sit on some grass or drink a cup of luke warm tea at Walton gardens, when the same sort of grass is available on Sankey Valley Park, Tatton Park, Beeston Castle, Lyme Park etc.?

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Baz, you've obviously not been following the issue very closely, or have just been reading the misleading information put out by Andy Farrell and the Exec board.

What buildings do you imagine are falling apart? The Hall is in good condition. It might be nice to improve facilities at the heritage yard etc but these buildings are certainly not 'falling apart' - neither are they running at a loss.

 

The car park as you say charges daft rates and generates a very handsome profit.

 

The zoo has and can continue periodically to receive generous outside funding from such sources as WREN (landfill tax) etc.

 

The golf course I believe does run at a loss - but this could be remedied by better management.

 

In fact there is absolutely nothing other than better management to stop all of the existing facilities used being enhanced and even operating on a profit - without the need for private investment.

 

Facilities that are not at present used are the glasshouse and riding centre which are the buildings that are in a bad state of disrepair and thus have not been accessible and in effect lost to the public for years.

 

The cited need for the Contessa investment was to enable the renovation of these buildings. However, if you trawl through the proposals you will become aware that there will in fact be no renovation as it is planned that the glasshouse will be demolished and a conference facility built on the footprint. Likewise the riding school will be 'redeveloped' as part of the hotel complex.

So there are really no 'benefits' to anyone other than Contessa!- without whom we can either apply for a lottery grant for renovation or demolish the glasshouse ourselves.

 

Also Baz, you do not seem to realise the level of resistance to the Contessa hotel plans, if you go on to savewaltongardens.com website you'll see for yourself that there is in fact mass resistance. This is despite the fact that very many people still don?t know what exactly has been going on.

The press reports are full of promises of full and open consultation before any decisions will be made - only the people who were present at the Exec meeting of June 14 who listened to the Exec member?s speeches will know just how readily the Exec can make promises and just how quickly and easily they can go behind closed doors and break them!

Lastly if you want to know how many people go to Walton Gardens the easiest way to find out is to go - you may be surprised.

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Sha,

 

I understand your comments very well, but it still is the fact that the place is in a downward spiral. It may make a profit, but that profit doesn't go straight back to the estate, it goes into the council coffers... Without the investment, the rest of the place could easily end up like the glass house and riding scholl and investment in a climate where jobs are being cut will not happen.

 

I used to go to Walton gardens many many times a year, but as I say, the facilities over the years have got worse and worse. Apart from the DAD, nothing ever seems to happen there that would encourage me to go nowadays. Sankey Valley park has just as many amenities; birds, grass and an ice cream van.

 

There may well be "mass" opposition, but if there are still people who don't know of the plans to do what they are doing to the hall, then the campaign hasn't been doing its job properly, or maybe most people really can't be bothered? Look at Bewsey Old Hall, that campaign didn't work and that building is far more historic than Walton..... It is just a sad reflection on the current times Sha when Councillors and officers; many of whom don't even come from this town, can sell and giveaway and knock down its heritage with impunity; but that I guess is the age we live in!

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Maybe it was a meteorite :shock::shock::shock:

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Flippin heck that could explain why it burnt down at the odd time of 7am in the morning..... never thought of that :shock::lol:

 

Thanks goodness it missed the Hall which is only a few meteors away eh :wink::P

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