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The High Town Bomb Site


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Is it not about time that something was finally done. A short time ago the owners did some tidying up but this included taking off the temporary roof thus opening up the building to the elements.
Is there nothing really that can be done?
Do the Council not have the powers either to require the site to be developed or to CPO it?

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The fire was in October 2010. So 3 1/2 years ago. As I recall the fire was identified as an electrical fault early on (and not suspicious) and if the relevant insurance policies are in place I can't really see what the issues are with reinstating the various premises as they were subject to any conservation requirements.

 

There will probably be a problem in re-occupying the premises tho. As soon (or rather if) they get repaired then they will probably remain empty. 

 

But the point about the scaffolding is valid tho. Just a Blott on the Landscape. 

 

On a similar point how long is that huge scaffolding pile going to be behind Jacobs Court? At the rear next to Yates in Commercial Road. Total eyesore. Must have been there two years! 

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Jacobs Court - here's a thing - we're paying for that scaffold! The developer went bust or wound up the business, not sure which, and, shortly after the properties were occupied, investigation revealed that all of the rear structure was unsafe and in danger of panels falling out with risk to life and limb. On public safety grounds, and with no one else to pay for it, Building Control insisted it was shored up and its been there ever since with you and I footing the bill. You may have seen the developer around - he's partial to pottering about in a Ferrari ...

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The Officer in charge of this debacle is Andrew Ashcroft aashcroft@herefordshire.gov.uk

I have been badgering him for two years to get some action on this site. In fact, he promised work was starting in July 2013. As we can see, all that has happened has been a tidying up operation. The Council have enforcement powers but are refusing to use them. Instead, they are trying to 'encourage' the owners to rebuild. That will not produce any results because all the potential tenants have been poached by the OLM development.

Feel free to try Mr Ashcroft yourselves!

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Ha, ha, seriously - don't bother Mr Ashcroft, you'll just be wasting your time. He's busy earning his £79k salary working on the 3 years late and counting Core Strategy, which we're now told will be adopted in May 2015, unless it all kicks off at the public enquiry (which it will) and just in time for a general election … You could try his boss, Geoff Hughes ghughes@herefordshire.gov.uk or Ward Councillor Hubbard.

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So what remains inside that scaffolding can't be bulldozed as it's in a conservation area. The current owners don't want to rebuild as it's a dead duck in a redundant area. And the Council don't want to do a Compulsory Purchase as they will be lumbered with a white elephant that someone else currently owns. At great expense to everyone.

 

This sounds like it will go on for years! 

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What Roger said, no one wants to touch it with a barge pole.

Investors don't want it because HC are killing the High Town with their new OLM

HC don't want it because it would distract from their moving of the city centre to the OLM (why else would they fill it with shops that we already have after promising not to.)

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  • 7 months later...

I see that HC have issued enforcement notices;

 

We can confirm that the Section 215 Notice pertaining to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 was formally served on the owner of the fire damaged buildings in High Town, Hereford on Friday 24 October.

 
The notice requires three actions to be undertaken:
 
The retained facades need to be internally stabilised
 
A 4.8m hoarding needs to be erected across the full width of the front of the property (which is the northern boundary of the site)
 
A pictorial representation of the approved redevelopment scheme needs to be included on the erected hoarding
The council has also informed the owner that the existing scaffolding licence will not be extended beyond the notice compliance period.
 
The owner has 80 days to comply with the notice after it takes effect on Tuesday 2 December and early indications suggest that they are indeed taking steps to complete the necessary actions.

 

 
So now we are going to see a poxy picture on the front of this eye sore!!! This is beyond belief!
 
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21st November 2014
Hereford Times News by Bill Tanner

 
ENFORCEMENT notices have been served on the owner of fire-damaged buildings in High Town, Hereford, still not restored five years after being burnt out in one of the county’s biggest ever blazes.
 
Today, Herefordshire Council confirmed that notices had been served requiring the site owner to undertake works including the stabilising of facades, erecting hoardings across the full width of frontage and presenting a “pictorial representation†of the approved redevelopment scheme on that hoarding.
 
The owner has also been warned that the existing scaffolding licence will not be extended beyond the 80 compliance notice which takes effect from December 2.
 
In the five years since the fire, one of affected stores, River Island, has opened up on the city’s Old Market development.
 
The council, in August, confirmed its intention to take enforcement action to take enforcement action against the owner of the properties, for restoration to a specified standard having held  extensive discussions to encourage repairs.
 
These talks brought about the protection of the historic elements of the buildings that will be retained in a new development scheme, which was backed by planners shortly after the fire.
 
However, no further fundamental rebuilding and restoration work has taken place since.
 
Outstanding insurance claims said to have stopped the work were settled in June last year.
 
The previous March, the Hereford Times reported that the council was not going take enforcement action to speed up re-development at the site.
 
Then, the council said enforcement would be “inappropriate†given apparent complexities over insurance issues.
 
The blaze that ripped through the former River Island and Card Factory stores in October 2010 was one of the biggest ever in the county.
 
The condition of the buildings – branded a “blot†on the city centre – was raised at the full council meeting in July by Cllr Brian Wilcox.
 
Specific concern was expressed over scaffolding and boarding.
 
Full council was told that officers had inspected the site and were satisfied that it was secure with the “historic elements†protected from wind and water.
 
Councillors heard at that time the option for enforcement action was open should talks not prove fruitful.

 

Who is the owner/landlord?

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From Land Registry:


This extract shows information current on 21 NOV 2014 at 14:43:04 and so does not take

account of any application made after that time even if pending in the Land Registry

when this extract was issued.

 


Registered Owner(s) : OMAHA NOMINEES (A) LIMITED (Co. Regn. No. 06760158) and

OMAHA NOMINEES (B) LIMITED (Co. Regn. No. 06760178) of 5

Wigmore Street, London W1U 1PB.

 

Director information here. Appears they all live in Gibraltar.

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A lot of monkeys live in Gibraltar and as most people who work in this county get paid peanuts... sorry it's my battle scarred twisted brain which needs a further 're-wire'. I cannot remember if Gibraltar sits in the channel islands, Cayman Island's set. They sure don't have to look at their investment anywayz.

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A lot of monkeys live in Gibraltar and as most people who work in this county get paid peanuts... sorry it's my battle scarred twisted brain which needs a further 're-wire'. I cannot remember if Gibraltar sits in the channel islands, Cayman Island's set. They sure don't have to look at their investment anywayz.

 

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. Today its economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services, and shipping. In 1967, Gibraltar enacted the Companies (Taxation and Concessions) Ordinance (now an Act), which provided for special tax treatment for international business. This was one of the factors leading to the growth of professional services such as private banking and captive insurance management. Gibraltar has several positive attributes as a financial centre, including a common law legal system and access to the EU single market in financial services. 

 

One of the primary characteristics which define a tax haven is the absence of tax or a very low tax regime. Tax haven Gibraltar imposes a flat low tax of 10% on all offshore business companies or Gibraltar nonresident companies.  All offshore companies incorporated in Gibraltar are obligated to pay an annual license fee to the government. The annual fee is set at a fixed rate.

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Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. Today its economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services, and shipping. In 1967, Gibraltar enacted the Companies (Taxation and Concessions) Ordinance (now an Act), which provided for special tax treatment for international business. This was one of the factors leading to the growth of professional services such as private banking and captive insurance management. Gibraltar has several positive attributes as a financial centre, including a common law legal system and access to the EU single market in financial services. 

 

One of the primary characteristics which define a tax haven is the absence of tax or a very low tax regime. Tax haven Gibraltar imposes a flat low tax of 10% on all offshore business wwcompanies or Gibraltar nonresident companies.  All offshore companies incorporated in Gibraltar are obligated to pay an annual license fee to the government. The annual fee is set at a fixed rate.

 

Thanks chap. It does make the whole thing look a little murkier as in ...let's make the whole thing run until the locals get fed up then we can knock the whole lot down and build something new without Listed Building restrictions.

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RV: £171,000 approx £80,000 a year to pay for 5 years = £400,000 revenue lost

 

 

OR saved if you are the landlord with a building with no tenant to go in there.

Without a tenant - the landlord has to pay the rates.

 

I understand the landlord is a pension investment company.

 

Its not nice - but it is business.

 

If my pension was with that company I would be saying "right on - look after my money - good job guys"

 

As a person living and working in Hereford having to walk past that burnt out shell everyday - I think they are a bunch of anchors!

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There is a simple reason why the site has been left as it is - no prospective tenant

Probably most of the building in High Town are owned by pension funds or property developers who have no affinity to Hereford but with an affinity to their wallets. Also why some are empty due to the high rents required. Sadly yes - it is business

 

The Notice served by the Council is about as far as they can legally go. Lets see if the developer concludes that re-scaffolding the building from the inside is so costly that he might as well start work. In a worst case at least the new hoarding will be flush with the frontage

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Then I'm not sure what the Council can do other than being a snappy dog. So long as the landlord keeps the structure safe. After all they might be on the rock but I'm sure they would prefer to see things improve in old town before they decide what to do with their assets. I don't think HC can force them to rebuild. Sadly I think the landlord holds the cards.

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I wonder who our cllr's have there pensions with?

 

I guess only time will tell if this gets sorted or just left to decay?

 

As the longer nothing goes on the more likelihood that it will still be in the same old sorry state,that it is in today, as it will be in four years time???

 

But if the owners are really going to finally sort it out? then hopefully we should see signs of them doing so sooner rather than later? But I'm not holding my breath!

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Fire was October 2010 ... So 4 years and one month since the fire ... Too long in my opinion ... The only logical solution is to raze the whole sorry shell to the ground. And rebuild it sympathetically ... Having done that tho the prospect of a new tenant(s) is questionable as that area has high rates and the Council seem to have moved to 'street food' with gazebo's ... No rates there ... 

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