TAMESIDE Council has been forced to take over the running of an area supposedly regenerated after its management company ‘failed’.
The way Ashton’s St Petersfield was being run proved such a concern the authority has decided to manage it itself.
That is set to result in expenditure to overcome ‘legacy issues’ from the St Petersfield Management Company.
And a budget of £20,000 has also been approved to improve the condition of the public realm in the interim.
Work will include the clearance of overgrown vegetation and shrubbery, tree maintenance and grass cutting.
The council is also objecting to an attempt to strike off the body at Companies House.
And the previous management company’s conduct – including £20,000 worth of unpaid invoices – was slammed in a report, which states: “The St Petersfield Management Company has failed to sufficiently manage the maintenance of the area, nor has it discharged the outstanding invoices due to JPM Real Estate Management Limited.
“Equally it has also failed to liaise with the tenants and collect the service charge for a number of years.
“In an endeavour to ensure that St Petersfield Management Company will discharge the invoice to JPM Real Estate Management Limited, the council’s Legal Team wrote to the company on April 21.
However, the council received no response.
“In order to ensure St Petersfield fulfils its potential as being a location for high quality employment, innovation, design, tech and public realm, the council are keen to progress with future aspirations associated with St Petersfield.
“In order to make meaningful progress in St Petersfield, there are a number of legacy issues that require resolution.
“If these legacy issues remain unresolved, progress could be inhibited and result in St Petersfield not fulfilling its potential and not delivering the economic, environmental and social improvements necessary for Ashton and the rest of the borough.”
If St Petersfield Management Company succeeds in being struck off, Tameside Council, as landowner, would have to pay for the upkeep of the area, as well as negotiate new leases with tenants.
But Councillor Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council’s executive member for growth and finance, believes this option is better than doing nothing.
He said: “Taking on the responsibility for the maintenance and services will enable the council to take control of the future provision of the site and provide a high-quality public realm that meets the requirements and needs of existing and future tenants.
“Coupled with the ongoing work on an emerging masterplan for St Petersfield, this is an exciting time for Tameside.
“A development prospectus will be published with the aim of attracting new developments of the very highest quality along with new businesses and activity to help to revitalise the area.”
Gregg Stott, the authority’s assistant director for investment, development and housing, added: “The council will continue to object to the striking off of the management company, until suitable arrangements are in place.
“This is an exciting proposal for St Petersfield and it does seek to continue that momentum.”
And the report continues: “Due to the fact there remains a number of unresolved issues in relation to the St Petersfield Management Company, the council has repeatedly, and successfully, objected to the striking off.
“The most recent attempt (and successful Council objection) at striking off was in May.
“It is essential a new agreement including roles, responsibilities, and liabilities is established with tenants in the St Petersfield area to maintain the common parts of the development area and to safeguard the quality of this area for future development opportunities.”