Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Growth, presented the report which outlined the rationale for intervention and the exploration of a Joint Venture with Bruntwood to deliver the proposed project and sought the first stage approval for the acquisition of the Millgate estate. Members noted their cross-party support for regeneration in the Town Centre and the ambition to keep up with neighbouring boroughs and ensure a modern town centre suitable for the needs of local residents.
1. Approved in principle the acquisition of the Millgate Estate in accordance with the commercial terms included within Part B of this report, to facilitate a multifaceted regeneration programme that has the potential to transform Bury Town Centre;
2. Approved that the Council establishes the terms and structure for a joint venture delivery vehicle with Bruntwood;
3. Delegated to the S151 officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and the Chief Executive a budget to complete the appropriate due diligence on condition, title, tenure, and the Joint Venture arrangements;
4. Noted that Cabinet will receive a report seeking final approval to purchase the Millgate estate in January 2022 following the completion of the due diligence work and establishment of legal and financial models; and
5. Approved the acquisition of 6-10 Princess Parade Bury in accordance with the terms as set out in Part B of this report, agree to delegate the finalised terms of the agreement to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, S151 Officer and Monitoring Officer.
Reasons for the decision:
· To unlock an opportunity to future-proof Bury Town Centre;
· To facilitate the delivery of new opportunities for employment, hundreds of new affordable homes and in doing so instilling economic resilience to the town centre.
· To avoid the shopping centre being disposed by the Bank to an ‘income-investor’ who would likely extract surpluses from the Centre for personal profit instead of re-investing in the Estate, overseeing a decline of the Centre and increasing the later costs and need for public sector intervention.
· Bury town centre masterplan identifies further development opportunities to the South of Angloume Way and further into the areas of Bury East ward, acquisition of the Millgate facilitates physical reconnection and attract investment that will have an impact on the surrounding communities.
Other options considered and rejected:
· Given the long-term trend of decline within the retail sector, if the Shopping Centre were to be purchased by a third party they may not be motivated to reinvest income to maintain the centre to a high standard. This may contribute to the condition of the centre declining.
· Working with the vendor was originally an option, assisting in their search for a development or investment partner however the vendors disposal timeframe expectation would not allow for this. For these reasons this was discounted.
Publication date: 18/11/2021
Date of decision: 17/11/2021
Decided at meeting: 17/11/2021 - Cabinet