In the latest Stoke Town Regen Newsletter Cllr Pervez Answers your Questions
Q. How will the Council fund the buildings at the Central Business District?
A. If we assume that the Council needs to borrow all or some of the monies to pay for the build, then it will be part funded from Capital receipts from the sale of existing land and property, and any shortfall will, most likely, be borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board. The interest rates for this are around half that of commercial borrowing which makes borrowing to purchase a cheaper option than renting.
Q. How long will it take to repay any monies borrowed?
A. Until the exact borrowing amount it known, there is not a straight forward to answer. Repayments could take up to 25 years but, depending on capital receipts, could be as little as 5 years. We are currently anticipating a 10-year payback period. However, by stimulating private sector investment, the council will bring in new business rates which will reduce net costs to the council and the council will save on the amount it spends on maintenance and running costs on older buildings.
Q. What about the cost of empty buildings in Stoke Town whilst waiting for a buyer?
A. The buildings in Stoke Town will be marketed in parallel to the new buildings in the Central Business District. Any costs incurred would be around security but with interest already shown we do not envisage the buildings in Stoke Town being empty for long.
Q. Should the construction of the new buildings not be delivered in the time expected will the budget need to be increased?
A. The new buildings will be contracted at a fixed price, so any risk will be with the developer.
Q. Why would a major employer want to buy a large office complex in Stoke Town?
A. There is already considerable commercial interest in this site, and let us not forget the unique selling points of Stoke Town from a business perspective, it has excellent connectivity with roads, rail links and a University on the doorstep. The new HQ for Seddons will be built within the town, confirming its attractiveness and unique position. As a result of these advantages, the former Spode site has the potential for many exciting development opportunities.
Q. Will the council focus its attention on Stoke town after staff have moved away to the city centre?
A. We are serious about having short, medium, and long term proposals for the town and we will be pursuing these to demonstrate our commitment to the community and existing businesses, for example, we shall be seeing major new housing development within the next 12 months.
Q. If so much money is being spent on reshaping Stoke-on-Trent, shouldn’t we ask the public how to spend it?
A. If we look at the same 25 year period, the City Council will spend over £2 billion on public services for the people of our great City. The money spent on the two new office buildings is an investment to improve the delivery of these services and it is also money that would have to be spent maintaining older less economical buildings. Furthermore, it is money that will stimulate private sector confidence in our city which will bring more businesses to the City. The re-location also provides essential footfall to sustain existing city centre functions and to attract new brand names which will be of regional and national significance.
There is ample evidence to suggest that the residents of Stoke-on-Trent see employment as a key priority, highlighting the need to make Stoke- on-Trent an attractive place to bring employment and business. Our Mandate for Change is all about making Stoke-on-Trent a great working city with its four pillars:
- Make Stoke-on-Trent the place to bring business
- Support and develop existing business
- Work with people to promote independence and healthy lives
- Make Stoke-on-Trent a great City to live
The Central Business District has the potential to create 4500 new jobs for the people of Stoke-on- Trent and bring money into our economy. The additional increase in income generated through business rates will allow vital services to be protected; it will also improve access to services linked to locality working. We need to act now to secure the future of our City.
Q Isn’t this just another mistake like the Unity House?
No. The Central Business District is not a stand-alone project. The current proposals provide the opportunity for a brand new retail and cinema complex, new bus station, as well as new office space. This is part of a major regeneration programme and therefore offers greater sustainability and benefits for existing and new businesses.