Conflicting Advise from Council Officers

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.

John Betty, Interim Director, Place: City Renewal Services:

The legal advice we have received is that the sale of the City Council’s land to enable the further development of the Potteries Shopping Centre for a competing interest, without the consent of its development partner, could be construed as a breach of this clause and therefore open the City Council up to a claim from the developer for breach of contract and potential compensation for loss.

In a Reply to Councillor Paul Breeze concerns of Stoke on Trent City Council refusing to sell land to Capital Shopping Centres to expand the newly rebranded intu Potteries, John Betty Interim Director for Place claims that in doing so they hope to “build the credibility of the City as a place to do business and to build the reputation of the Council as open and reliable as a development partner so that the private sector have confidence that they can rely on the City Council” he would appear to admit while there is no  specific provision in the agreement to prevent sale of the land, but states that the Council are acting in the spirit and intent of the agreement to make the City Sentral Development Viable.

Your views are the actions of our Councillors building confidence in the City Council? Should the Council be balancing its investment policies to make one proposal appear more viable?

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