Thursday, 4 December 2008

'Make developer pay for Brymbo spine road' - Plaid

Anyone reading tonight's Evening Leader may have missed this story:

'Make developer pay for Brymbo spine road' - Plaid

Developers who want taxpayers' money to build a new road at Brymbo pocketed nearly £15m in dividends in just one year, research by Plaid Cymru reveals.

Brymbo Developments is asking the Welsh Assembly Government for public money to build the £2m spine road from Tanyfron to Brymbo as part of the redevelopment of the former Brymbo steelworks. But accounts filed for 2005-6 reveal that the company made £16.4m from land sales - and paid its shareholders a staggering £14.7m in dividends.

The company's failure to build the link road has been condemned by North Wales AM Janet Ryder.

Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM said: "I have every sympathy with residents in Brymbo who desperately want this road built. It is a disgrace that the developers have been allowed to get away without putting in the basic infrastructure in to support this development especially as they have profited so much themselves from this development.

"Residents bought their homes in good faith believing that the road would be built, only to see any profits that should have gone towards building the road be paid out as dividends to the developer's shareholders. Now those same developers have the nerve to say they can't afford to build the road and taxpayers should pay again.

"I've been asked by the local Tory councillor for Brymbo to join his campaign for more taxpayers' money to go to Brymbo Developments. I certainly want the road to be built but the company has had plenty of public money already to clean up the site. It has made millions from that site and should finance the road that links those houses to the rest of Brymbo through its own resources."

The company accounts for 2005-6 - the latest filed by the company - admits "the gross margin is substantial and can be attributed to the sale of land".

Janet Ryder said: "To take that much money out of the company in a dividend to shareholders is just plain greedy. A fraction of that dividend could have paid for the road."

The parent company Parkhill 2000 is owned by three men - 90% is owned by Colin Cornes of Shifnal, Shropshire, and the rest by two other Shropshire-based businessmen - Niall Crabb and P J Smyth.

Janet Ryder added: "I understand that Brymbo Developments managed to persuade Wrexham Council to allow it to build more housing on land adjacent to the Sports and Social Club, saying it needed this extra cash to build the road. This time the council had the good sense to insist on a section 106 agreement. This stated that no housing could be built before the spine road had been built but I gather that the company is even refusing to sign this deal.

"I'm surprised that the Tories have been taken in by the company's pleading without doing some basic research into the company's finances. We should not give taxpayers' money to companies who are paying out huge dividends to their shareholders.

"I hope the council sticks to its guns and makes sure the company builds the spine road to ensure the old steelworks site is developed to its full potential in terms of jobs as well as housing."


Anonymous said...

From the information presented here, it seems crazy that the developers are not willing to pay to build the new road. We have the insane situation of hundreds of new homes which are supposed to be part of this village not adequately connected to the village road infrastructure. In fact, it feels like TWO villages, with the new homes focussed away from Brymbo.

I live on the edge of the "old" village but would be pretty disgusted with the situation if I had bought one of the new properties. So far, the only expenditure on surrounding roads (excluding the new estate roads) has been the realignment and two roundabouts added to the top end of the Tanyfron link road, where the street lights have only just been switched on after about a year. Pathetic! How are these new homes supposed to help the regeneration of Brymbo if there isn't even a decent access road into the village?

Plaid Whitegate said...

All the information comes from Brymbo Developments Ltd own company accounts.
This was the company that also promised to create 1000 new jobs on the old steelworks site. Any idea how many have actually come to Brymbo?
The spine road was meant to link up to both Brymbo High St and the Tai pub.
Even though it's desperately needed, the Assembly government would be very foolish to pay for this road given the profits made by Brymbo Developments.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Tonight's Leader has a story about Karen Sinclair AM wanting to use Assembly money to build this road. So the Tories and now Labour want to use public money to build a road the developer should have built.
What a shame the local press have missed the boat on this.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting commentary indeed.

As someone who has lived in the community for years, I have witnessed the expenditure that the company has endured for years.

Yes there was a grant for reclamation from the Assembly however Brymbo Developments have still had to employ staff before and after the reclamation works. They may own significant land from the former Brymbo estate which needs to be maintained. The company did intend to put in the link road through a further housing development however unfortunately we are now in recession and realistically companies are in a tough position. Companies exist to make profit.

I have seen no comments from the ruling assembly coalition of Labour and Plaid to support a way forward.

As Plaid are supposed to be in the coalition in Wrexham, what is the Plaid group doing to support the communities of West Wrexham in creating employment opportunities?

Does Ms Ryder have any ideas for a solution given that in the evening leader the company has said they are unable to pay for it?

Plaid Whitegate said...

Anon - read the story. The company paid out £14.5m in dividends to its shareholders.

Plaid's contention is that a small chunk of that could have paid for the road.

"Companies exist to make profit" - so presumably we should all shut up when bankers rake in their million-pound bonuses for failure or the energy companies profiteer from our gas and electricity bills?

It seems to me that the company has had a lot of help from the council in gaining planning permission for a second time and is still not willing to play ball. I'll await their next accounts (which are overdue by the way) to see how much profit they've made since 2005-6.

Regarding Plaid on the council - we've been here for six months and are fully committed to getting jobs for Wrexham, e.g. the Western Gateway. We also believe that building new affordable housing will meet housing need and also create local jobs.

Anonymous said...

Whitegate - you are looking at a snapshot of the company here not the historical facts that according to both the council and the developer it had always been agreed that the company would not have to fund the road. Im sure senior officers of the council could confirm what the company have said?

Brymbo Developments have put a lot back into the community for example giving the sizable land for the Brymbo Enterprise Centre?

I hope that Plaid Councillors will therefore push for the Assembly to support the Western Gateway project.

In relation to affordable housing and the creation of jobs - the development at Rhostyllen should boost the local economy of the area while meeting the affordable housing need.

I am still interested in your alternative options for a way forward for the spine road in this tough economic climate?

Plaid Whitegate said...

Whatever Brymbo Developments has done for the community doesn't excuse the £14.6m given to shareholders as a dividend. That's money that's left the community for good.

A senior planning officer tells me that there was an understanding that the road would be funded by the company.

That's why a s106 was put in place for the second development by the sports club - to legally bind the company this time.

Plaid locally has been in touch with Assembly ministers on a number of issues, including Western Gateway.

There's a simple way to pay for the road - for Brymbo Developments to sign the s016 agreement and build the road before it builds the next housing development. Or maybe Anon thinks the taxpayer should bail out private developers indefinitely?

Anonymous said...

I'm probably a bit late on this but it’s the council’s responsibility to wring as much money out of the developers as possible at the planning stage. Surely a planning condition should have been set relating to the spine road with a section 106 agreement. The developers, as is unfortunately to be expected, are going to wash their hands of any expenditure that doesn't benefit them directly. WCBC should have agreed the other work and had it legally set in stone. Although this does seem do be a common theme, WCBC being weak in the face of developers.

I live in the new houses and I am originally from Brymbo. The lack of progress on the site is staggering; what is it now - 18/19 years since the steelworks shut?

Anonymous said...

The main shareholder is good at making promises, Jobs ? seen it all before, nothing but promises.

I am speaking about the main shareholders developments in Scotland he treats the coucils here just the same, promises ? Huh.

Spend money - Nae chance....

Plaid Whitegate said...

Interesting comment from our friend in Scotland - the company has made no effort to contact this blog but did use a council officer to threaten us with libel. Good to know how politics works.

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in the company "Brymbo Development" type into you search box, Brymbo Development UK, then ask your self, did these companies exist before Parkhill Estate put together a company to over see the work at the fromer Brymbo Steelwores?