Council Watcher

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  • in reply to: Ty Pawb – Very disappointed :-( #155214

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Very surprised that the stall holders had not been made aware in advance that they would have a licence and not a lease agreement with the Council.
    1. A key discussion point between traders and the Council should be whether full unrestricted access to enable trading without interruption occurred when they first moved in or what was the defined date of completion of all works – which should then determine the commencement date on the Licence.
    2. Second key point to be considered is what promises – written or verbal where given to traders by officers or Council Members about what support and marketing would be provided on a collective basis to promote the level of footfall and art activity.
    3. Did the initial discussions around the monthly payments have any variable conditions based on predicted footfall and whether there were any clauses which enabled the rent to be variable linked to overall success of Ty Pawb?
    It is crucial that all traders should be united in their approach to the Council and not allow themselves to be picked off one by one. Traders should remember that they are ‘recommended’ by the Council to seek legal advice before signing any contract- behaving in an ‘unreasonable manner’ the way the Council’s actions are being reported woud not be viewed by any court favourably for the Council. A court would also take into account the proportionate time traders have waited to receive documentation.
    It appears that the Council are now trying to use bullying tactics to get themselves out of a hole.
    To help them here is some free legal information – the traders group should as a matter of urgency instruct a firm of Solicitors to take the case forward – (traders sharing all costs).

    The following is a brief summary of the differences between a Lease and Licence:

    Lease or Licence – do you know the difference?
    The most common ways to occupy a property are by a tenancy at will, licence, or lease. It is important that tenants, as well as landlords, know the difference between these types of occupation and are able to choose the most suitable for their requirements.

    Tenancy at will
    By its very nature, this arrangement is the most flexible between landlord and tenant. It can be terminated at any time by either party, for any reason. A tenancy at will does not create a legal interest in land and therefore should only be used on a short-term basis. This type of arrangement is suited to allowing a tenant immediate access to a property, whilst lease negotiations continue.

    Licence
    A licence, like a tenancy at will, does not create a legal interest in land. It is merely a permission to use the premises for a particular purpose, and can be for a fixed term or ongoing. A licence does not grant exclusive possession.

    A licence must be carefully drafted. If the terms of the licence actually make it, in substance, a lease, then the courts will treat the agreement as a lease. This creates a danger that licences, which are not correctly drafted and granted for longer than six months, could earn the tenant a claim for protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This protection provides security of tenure to business tenancies, granting them the right to remain on the premises following expiry of the contract, and to request a renewal on the same terms.

    Lease
    A lease is a legal contractual arrangement where the lessee (tenant) agrees to pay the lessor (landlord) rent for exclusive occupation of a property for a fixed term. A lease provides the tenant with the right to possession of the property, to the exclusion of all others including the landlord. A lease creates a legal interest in the property and therefore any sale of the property, during the term of the tenant’s lease, would be subject to the tenant’s lease.

    Seek advice
    A court will always look at the substance of an agreement rather than just its name, in order to interpret the true intention of the parties. It is therefore important for both landlord and tenant that occupation arrangements are regularised and properly documented. This is a complex area of law and legal advice should be sought on drafting and negotiating terms.

    Information above shown as Free legal information is from Google search- article please contact Alex Wilson-Jones at awj@blasermills.co.uk or 01494 478 681.

    in reply to: EasyCoach #155044

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    This could have been predicted months ago as comments had been getting passed around the bus industry and drivers unsure of their future.

    A look on the Companies House registration would have shown that the company has a single director which should have rung alarm bells with the Council for a company that outwardly looks large but in fact is very small- https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04761783/officers – it should be noted that Skiers Lodge actually only had one employee the Director- all the drivers have been employed through another company Drivers4u https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07576277 which only has one director — yes you’ve guessed the same as Skiers Lodge!

    This is again a situation where Council Officers had not carried out sufficient Due Diligence on the company – if they had then anyone with a commercial background would have seen alarm bells ringing.

    in reply to: Market Stalls and Ty Pawb #154977

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Well, this is now turning into a real hot potato for the new Chief Executive when he starts in September. There is now so much coming out from various quarters that no stone should be left unturned by an independent investigation.

    The stall holders future is at stake whilst Council Officers and Members are in salaried positions that give a level of protection self-employed people don’t have.

    It is time that there was a public meeting so that the people who are having to pay any subsidy – the public of Wrexham – can actually find out fully what is going on and what plans if any are in place to try and turn the fortunes around.

    At the moment this feels like the Titanic with a Captain at the helm in total denial that the ship is going down – Ty Pawb is limping from one mismanagement issue to the next on a daily basis.

    Rob confused with your comment about possible legal action — are you referring to the Council or Traders threatening the action.

    in reply to: Market Stalls and Ty Pawb #154921

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Alunh- I agree with the need for a root and branch review but not by the existing management (that includes the Lead Member) as they clearly don’t have the skill set to make a difference — if they did then surely being handed what effectively was a blank canvas to develop but unfortunately failed. This is not personal as I am sure they are very nice people.

    If they (the Council) cannot even get their rental income systems sorted shows the level of incompetence across the Council. There are two sides to any set of accounts – income and expenditure- failure to balance these is only resulting in more and more loss. Financial Management on this scale is not even to do with the Ty Pawb management as it surely goes to the top of the Finance Department not to have had systems in place – they had a two year run in period!

    The lack of the establishment of the “Advisory Group” (yes they advertised but never held a single meeting) shows that the Council probably have a bigger back hole that they don’t want external people to scrutinise. Having a meeting including external people would open them with independent eyes to delve into the whole running.

    With so much negativity the Arts Council as the largest investor should be asking their own questions about how they agreed to pump so much money into a project that is on a closure pathway before the 1st Anniversary.

    How the Council will present this disaster at their forthcoming budget meetings – “Difficult Decisions” when there will no doubt be proposals to cut more funding to Social Care and other services so that they can retain the subsidy for this vanity project.

    in reply to: Ty Pawb – Very disappointed :-( #154893

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    The situation about no rent being paid has been around now for a number of weeks with the inevitability that any rent demand will be the thing that breaks the bank for a number of the traders so they will be off.

    A number of the traders have never signed any lease agreement for the stalls so who can the Council chase if there are no contracts in place?

    It will be interesting to see how much more digging that the BBC will undertake now they have the thread of a story that could unravel a number of mismanagement issues both locally and possibly within the Arts Council assessment process.

    in reply to: Ty Pawb – Very disappointed :-( #154894

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    The situation about no rent being paid has been around now for a number of weeks with the inevitability that any rent demand will be the thing that breaks the bank for a number of the traders so they will be off.

    A number of the traders have never signed any lease agreement for the stalls so who can the Council chase if there are no contracts in place?

    It will be interesting to see how much more digging that the BBC will undertake now they have the thread of a story that could unravel a number of mismanagement issues both locally and possibly within the Arts Council assessment process.

    in reply to: Henblas Street Development #154844

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    50 apartments is a good start to revitalise the town as a place to live but it will need significantly more apartments/flats if there will be changes in the retail offer and restaurant/cafe culture developments that make areas in cities have a vibrant feel.
    The good thing about the Henblas Street development is that it is a single developer and can progress rapidly. Ideally, Regent Street should be developed but the downside is that there are so many property owners it will take a huge level of funding to entice them to do anything that resembles a single development opportunity.

    in reply to: Ty Pawb – Very disappointed :-( #154807

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    There is a report due to Council in September – I’m sure they will try an gloss over the issues – “teething problems”, “market forces”, “delays in recruitment” – you can almost write the report with the level of excuses as the Executive have been so good in the past at spinning stories about other failures — the Sprouts fiasco was one example – report due in September.

    in reply to: Ty Pawb – Very disappointed :-( #154769

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Unfortunately, I predicted this over a week ago after talking with some stallholders- the closures/amended hours Jimbow has indicted are probably the tip of the Iceberg- others are saying they are likely to go as soon as the summer children’s activities have ended at the end of school holidays.

    It will be interesting to find out if any of the trader’s -stalls and food have actually been offered rent-free for the time being to try and bolster up some trade. (Of course, this means a larger bill for the ratepayers of Wrexham to pay an increased subsidy!!!!).

    Are any of the traders prepared to tell if they have been offered rent-free or discounted rental period as their trade has not hit the level that had been predicted in the business plan for Ty Pawb?

    in reply to: The last thing town needs! #154661

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    The only way any Council can influence a development and its location is by controlling the infrastructure of connecting roads. As most Councils across the OK do not own much of the land in a Town Centre or peripheral areas they cannot determine who develops the sites that are often owned by a very large number of landlords. It is only the likes of Llandudno where a single landlord (Mostyn Estates ) that a greater influence can be brought to bear.

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