Vexatious FOI requests?

Freedom Of Information requests made

Using the website WhatDoTheyKnow over the past 8 mths I’ve submitted the 3 questions in relation to the proposed building of a New Civic Centre.

6th June 2012

Dear Stoke on Trent City Council,

Please provide the list of Council Buildings across the City that
are under consideration to close and relocate to the City Business
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Public Consultation results on New Civic

On the 1st November Genr8 Developments held a public consultation event, the results have now been published as part of Genr8 Developments planning application. residents have until 10th January 2013 to submitt addition planning comments Continue reading

Stoke Asset Reports released

King Sturge was appointed by Stoke on Trent City Council to review the 40 administrative buildings in Council occupation

a qucik summary of the reports finding was

Prefferred Option 3a – Consolidate into city centre CBD project, core operational property plus such administrative buildings as required to include the Civic Centre

This option scores well across all categories, showing that it fits in well with the Council’s objectives. By taking a pre-let of the CBD scheme, the Council use its occupation to enable new development in the central business district that otherwise would not be viable. This in turn should see spin-off benefits to wider regeneration in the locality. By disposing of older stock and taking occupation of new BREEAM Excellent office space, the Council will improve the overall sustainability of its occupational estate. Retaining the Civic Centre maintains a presence in Stoke and is considered to be more appropriate politically

Current Proposal Option 4 – Consolidate into the CBD project

This option scores well in terms of achieving the Council’s strategic and economy and efficiency objectives, in particular for promoting city centre development, improving the sustainability of the Council’s operation and the economic position of the Council’s operation. However, the option scores poorly in terms of deliverability since it is considered to be too significant an operational change, and the single location is considered to provide a business continuity risk to the Council. Disposal of the current civic centre would also be problematic. Continue reading

Genr8 & Realis Estate, is Stoke-on-Trent safe in their hands?

Concerns have been raised over the stability of developer Genr8 by Simon Danczuk Labour MP for Rochdale. He has told Rochdale council to look at other potential investors before signing an agreement between the authority and developers Genr8. He said “It is a matter of record that Genr8 have a very low credit rating and they are described by the UK’s leading credit reporting agency, Experian, as ‘a maximum risk company’.
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Genr8 preferred anchor Tenants

When Genr8 fail to secure funding/occupiers they seem to have a fondness for Council offices and Libraries as their preferred anchor tenants

Clone 1

The building which is being constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, will be completed in 2012. It will bring together around 2,000 council staff from more than 30 buildings, saving over £28m in ongoing maintenance costs. Continue reading

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FOI Asset Review

The Freedom of Information Department have now replied to my request for a copy of the Strategic Asset Review to say  “the information is not available”

The council now reviews its assets for specific purposes such as the Central Business District proposals and as such a “Strategic Asset Review” is no longer available.

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Wider Impact of agreeing an updated Capital Budget

Dear Cllr Shotton in you report on the Capital Budget update 5th July
you say “The sites currently occupied that would be disposed of as
part of the Central Business District programme will form part of the
overall evaluation and assessment.” Who will conduct this evaluation?
and whatDear Cllr Shotton in you report on the Capital Budget update 5th July
you say “The sites currently occupied that would be disposed of as
part of the Central Business District programme will form part of the
overall evaluation and assessment.” Who will conduct this evaluation?
and what would be the impact on the CBD if they choose not to dispose
of the sites?

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The future of Stoke on Trent councils property assets

I have received a reply on behalf of the Labour Group to my earlier email, see below.

Stoke Labour Group claim that Civic Centre and Swann House are excess buildings, and that there are no plans to close 40 buildings across the city. During Cabinet meeting 31st May Cllr Rosenau clearly states “we currently occupy 40 buildings across the city” and that “relocating 2000 staff to Central Business District will enable us to rationalise our assetts”

If Civic Centre and Swann House are the only excess buildings, Where are the 1100 extra staff coming from?

Stoke Labour Group claim that “Each building that we currently use will be assessed for use and function, cost benefit, running costs, repair costs, efficiency etc, and decisions will be made on an individual basis”, But on 31st May Cabinet agreed to the “active marketing and disposal of surplus buildings”  But details of the strategy to rationalise the Cities assetts will not be revealed untill 26th July at Cabinet.

An amendment needs to be made that either “active marketing and disposal of EACH surplus building Comes goes to Scrutiny Commission” or “a decison on the marketing and disposal of surplus building is made after the “Corporate Accommodation Strategy – Central Business District” report is produced, to safeguard the wholesale disposal of Council Assets before full and due consideration is given by ALL Councillors to EACH building.

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