FOI Re Abingdons Assets / Upper Reaches

By   2 October 2016

We have received a response from the Vale.

1/11/16

Dear Abingdon First

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, which was logged under FOI 16/605 Vale.

You asked the following questions:

We understand that the Vale have decided to outsource its property management to a private company. is this correct, and who is this company please?

Management of Vale of White Horse property assets has been awarded to Vinci Facilities in partnership with Arcadis who deliver day to day management of the portfolio. This service is managed/audited by a council employed Property Manager.

If this is indeed the case, how much autonomy have this private company been given?

Vinci have been given a  limited level of delegated authority insofar as discretionary remedial works costing less than £1,090 may be undertaken. Any services or works above this value must be approved by a council officer. 

Can they handle lease extensions, sell property & assets without seeking approval of the Council or the public?

No. These must all be approved by the council.

We are also led to believe, despite previous reassurances from yourselves, that the Vale’s preferred developer, Cranbourne (whatever their name is this week!), have secured the Upper Reaches for development. Has the Vale granted a lease extension on the site or sold the car park? NO. If so, who too please, and what are the plans for this site? N/A. On the subject of Cranbourne, has all the money been paid for the Old Gaol development now?

With regards to contributions:

We have not yet received all contributions owed by the Old Gaol, there is an instalment schedule in place as follows:

First payment made             30/04/2015    £100,000.00

Second payment made       30/04/2016    £180,000.00

Third payment due              30/04/2017    £180,000.00

Fourth payment due            30/04/2018    £180,000.00

Fifth payment due               30/04/2019    £180,000.00

Final payment due              30/04/2020    £180,000.00

 

And what is happening about the destroyed willow tree, that they were supposed to replace last year/beginning of this year? Is that to be enforced?

With regards to the Willow Tree:

 

Our response is as follows:

 

The Willow that was previously felled has not yet been replaced.  The works to this part of the site were completed following the implementation of the planning permission for the installation of the public art in the summer this year.  The area adjacent to the stump has been recently cleared of bramble and other vegetation and the ground is now able to accept a tree pit.

The timing for planting the replacement tree is during the planting season following completion of the site works adjacent to the river.  Now that the works to this area of the site is finished, the council will expect the replacement tree to be planted during the period between December 2016 and March 2017.

Please treat this as the councils’ formal response under the 2000 Act.  If you are not satisfied with the decision I have made in response to your request, you may complain under the council’s complaints procedure.  If you remain dissatisfied after following that procedure, you have the right under Section 50 of the 2000 Act to complain to the Information Commissioner if you feel the council has not dealt with your request properly. You can contact the Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF (telephone number: 01625 545745). You can also find further information at: www.ico.gov.uk.

Regards

FOI Team

Policy & Partnerships

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

NB We have been asked to point out that these installments are in addition to the amounts given to us in our previous FOI dated 25/9/15, as below:-

“The developer has paid the Vale Council some £2,033,500 + £40,354.81 VAT for the site + £1,200,000 as overage + £100,000 as the first of a series of staged payments towards affordable housing provision = £3,333,500 + 40,354.81 VAT.

The remaining £900,000 contribution towards affordable housing provision is due to be paid as five annual payments of £180,000, starting in April 2016, making a total receipt of £4,233,500 + 40,354.81 VAT.”

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2/10/16

We have submitted another FOI to the Vale.

Again, we look forward to their response, and will update you as soon as we receive it.

We understand that the Vale have decided to outsource its property management to a private company. is this correct, and who is this company please?

If this is indeed the case, how much autonomy have this private company been given?

Can they handle lease extensions, sell property & assets without seeking approval of the Council or the public?

We are also led to believe, despite previous reassurances from yourselves, that the Vale’s preferred developer, Cranbourne (whatever their name is this week!), have secured the Upper Reaches for development. Has the Vale granted a lease extension on the site or sold the car park? If so, who too please, and what are the plans for this site?

3 Comments on “FOI Re Abingdons Assets / Upper Reaches

  1. Keith Playford

    I think you have missed one very important point here. If Cranbourne are the preferred developer, will they be allowed to only pay about half what they have bid for the site as they appear to have managed with the Old Goal. The residents of Abingdon should expect to get what the developer has offered not what they think they they can make a profit on AFTER the deal has gone through. Someone needs to ensure that the bid price is the price that is paid otherwise the whole deal smells of incompetence or corruption.

  2. hester

    Dear Abingdon First – congratulations on your persistnece with these FoI requests. However I think it would have been useful if you had pointed out to your readers that, as per your report from September 2015, these payments are in addition to the £3.3m already paid.

  3. AbingdonFirst Post author

    Dear Hester,
    You are correct, this is in addition to the original payments made, although that was not made clear by the FOI response that we received from the Vale.
    Our apologies for any misconceptions that may have arisen from this.

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