In November 2012 Stoke Council were critised by opposition Councillors for refusing to sell land in Brewery Street and Bryan Street to allow the Potteries Shopping Centre to deliver its full expansion plans, Mr van de Laarschot said in the article Sale of land needed to extend Potteries Shopping Centre would ‘breach’ contract
But Mr van de Laarschot has now revealed the sale was in fact prevented by a legally-binding development agreement with Realis, which requires the council to help it build the shopping centre, now expected in early 2016.
In a letter sent to unaffiliated Hanley councillor Paul Breeze and seen by The Sentinel, Mr van de Laarschot said: “The city council cannot sell the land to CSC as this would in all probability be deemed as a breach of condition of the agreement.
“That does not mean we do not support CSC’s plans, simply that we cannot do so through a land sale until the development agreement goes unconditional.
That development agreement is now in the public domain well a heavily redacted copy is, and no where in what remains does it hint that the Council would offer Realis any form of protection from retail competion, one clause indeed seems to hint at complete lack of protection.
34 No restrictions on adjoining land Nothing herein contained or implied will impose or be deemed to impose any restrictions on the use of any land or buildings not comprised in this Agreement or give the Developer (or any person deriving title through or under it) the benefit of or the right to enforce or to have enforced or to prevent the release or modification of any covenant agreement condition or stipulation entered into by any purchaser from the Council or any lessee or Council of the Council in respect of property not comprised in this Agreement or to prevent or restrict in any way the development of any land not comprised in this Agreement.
There is NO legal clause in the development agreement as confirmed by the Councils Solicitor today:
from Gerry Clarke, Principal Solicitor for Regeneration:
1. The development agreement does not prevent or restrict competition in the City;
2. There are no provisions in the development agreement that specifically prevent the City Council from selling any of its land (other than land within the City Sentral development site) to a competitor nor are there any provisions in the development agreement which specifically prevent the City Council from supporting the expansion of the retail offer within the City Centre.