Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Whose the Landlord?

 BBC Wales have reported The Welsh assembly will pay £2.3m in rent to a mystery landlord for the building housing the offices of its 60 members, 

The BBC reveal..
The assembly's rent for the Ty Hywel building in Cardiff Bay will rise nearly 30% next year from £1.7m.
It is paid to Crick Properties Ltd, registered in Douglas, Isle of Man, but assembly authorities cannot say who the ultimate owner of the building is.
Senior AM Darren Millar is worried about the "very muddy" arrangements.
The building is attached to the Senedd and contains the assembly's old debating chamber.
As well as housing the offices of AMs and their staff, the Welsh government occupies the fifth floor, and media organisations, including the BBC, have space in the building.
Mr Millar, chairman of the assembly's Public Accounts Committee, raised concerns about the arrangement on the grounds of the importance of Ty Hywel as a public building and the amount of public money paid in rent.
"I'm very concerned about it," he said.
"The National Assembly has always been, or claimed to be, a beacon of transparency, and yet this is very, very muddy."

The report also points out. that...

Ty Hywel, originally called Crickhowell House, was built in the 1990s by Grosvenor Waterside, the property arm of Associated British Ports, which owned large areas of land around the newly reclaimed Cardiff Bay.
The Welsh Office took out a lease on the building and it was transferred to the assembly in 1999. It housed the assembly's debating chamber until the Senedd was completed in 2006.
After being sold by Grosvenor Waterside to insurance giant Aviva, the assembly had the opportunity to buy the building outright in 2009, but decided against it because funds were not available.
It was then sold for £31m to a company set up in the Isle of Man specifically for the purpose. Because of the way this company - Crick Properties Ltd - is structured, it is difficult to find out who is the ultimate owner.

Though the Blog Slugger O' Toole seems to have more success than the BBC in tracing the Landlord.

Clearly if the Assembly had bought the building in 2006  then it wohuld probably have been payed for  in 20 years and assuming the Assembly were still using it would have resulted in a long term saving.

I don't see any other buildings being available so they should have used this opportunity and those who maid the decision should explain themselves.

It would have been also easier if the Assembly could have borrowed the Money to Pay for TY Hywel but I doubt if they had the powers.

The major problem here is that every tenant should know who their landlord hill . Perhaps some Welsh MPs could put forward a Bill at Westminster making all Landlords register any properties they own in the UK here,

There has been no suggestion of improper here but what would the reaction be if it proved the Landlords were a Political Party or group that were heavy lobbying the Welsh Government?

Supposing a group like Greenpeace  discoverd their Landlords  were a Whaling company?

Because of the short sightingness  of the assembly in 2006 they are  being held over a barrel .

Unfortunately  I don't see any solution now but clearly the situation needs examining.

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