No means no!

Published: May 30 , 2013
Author: Alan Smith

I have been struck last week by the resolute nature by which an elderly lady in Wales has stood firm in the face of massive pressure from some of the UK's largest companies, and just how difficult it is to engage when the other side is simply not interested.

 Bit of background.

Aberystwyth is a small(ish) seaside town in Wales and the local council have approved the development of a shopping center, which will include a Tesco and a Marks and Spencer store. The problem is that 12 residential houses are in the way.

Now most of the houses have agreed and have already been sold (I suspect at a premium) but at least one lady has said no. And it seems that she really means it.

She has been offered a 60% premium on the price. She has been offered a new property close to the development.

She has agreed that they can build the shops up to her back wall (she is no Nimby), but she is not moving.

It seems that whilst Tesco/Marks and Spencer's have been both generous and creative about the deal, they simply so far have been unable to generate the interest required for a negotiation to take place. Now either they have to get even more generous, or more creative. I wonder if the lines of communication are open enough for the latter to happen.

Or of course they could appeal to a higher authority. In this case that is precisely what they have done. A compulsory purchase order is being considered by the council on the basis that this development will create both jobs and investment in the local area.

The lady in question of course has joined the game and is fighting the council on their ability to impose such an order.

No as far as she is concerned means no.

I wonder if there are any circumstances under which she would be prepared to sell. And I wonder if the developers have asked that question.

This looks like it could go on for quite some time.


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Alan Smith
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Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

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