Labour’s Shocking Failures in our Town Centre

1 cornhillbThe Labour Council have just announced they are to spend nine months refurbishing the old Post Office building on the Cornhill, which has stood empty for four years.

In itself this piece of information seems positive but a closer look at the details reveals a shocking catalogue of expensive errors and missed opportunities.

Lloyds Bank closed their branch in 2015 and had a lease until the end of 2018 but made it clear they were willing to surrender the lease early, which they did a year ago.

The deal was a great one for the Council, rent was paid up till December and a huge sum was agreed as part of the fully repairing lease. All of a sudden the Council had a prime empty building, in an area that was undergoing a £3.8million upgrade, with money to make it attractive to potential tenants.

Your Labour Council was gifted a ‘Golden Ticket’, it could not have been scripted better, but this is where the story turns into a nightmare.

Last March the Labour Executive promised that it was  close to agreeing a deal to rent the property, the negotiations were nearly complete we were told. The Labour Executive also agreed to use the money from Lloyds to bring the building up to standards.

Poor negotiations led to the deal collapsing – this was not announced – the Labour group tried to slip this bad news under the radar. They also made the fateful decision not to spend the money they received from Lloyds.

Why did the negotiations fail at literally the 11th hour?

Why couldn’t they find a tenant?  Were they too busy negotiating deals to buy expensive out of town retail parks?

The Labour Council knew in July last year that the deal had fallen through – why didn’t they order the refurbishment then?

Let’s not forget that this Labour Council is now a major retail landlord, with a property portfolio approaching £100 million – they are supposed to be professionals – these decisions show that they are out of their depth.

 

 

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Empty for Christmas!

1 cornhillb

It’s 18 months since the lights were turned off in one of the most prominent buildings in our Town Centre. Since then £3.6 million has been spent on improving the Cornhill to try and create and  modern, vibrant focal point.

Part of the ‘Masterplan’ for the Cornhill was to have a prominent tenant at the Old Lloyds Bank (or Post Office if you are as old as me!).

It was the dream scenario promised to us by David Ellesmere, the Labour leader of IBC at an Executive meeting in March of this year. A brasserie style chain restaurant opening just as the work on the Cornhill was being completed. Al-fresco dining creating a buzz in the area and then the anticipated Pret a Manger completing the regeneration project.

What went wrong?

Why can’t IBC manage to find a tenant despite spending huge sums in the surrounding area?

Why can’t IBC find a tenant despite the building being in the most prime location in the Town Centre?

What does this say about our ability to negotiate deals?

The message this gives out to other retailers and businesses is that Ipswich is a failing Town and this is something we should not put up with.

The Labour Council has run out of ideas and cannot be trusted to turn the fortunes of our Town around. We now own £64 million worth of out of town retail parks, if we can’t successfully rent out this beautiful building in a perfect location what hope have got if we lose tenants elsewhere?

If you want to see a change of fortunes for Ipswich then put your trust in local Conservative Councillors. We can make Ipswich a place we can all be proud of.