Brent Council gives green light to controversial regeneration deal in Stonebridge

The council plan to sell off the land where Bridge Park Community Centre is (pic credit: Brent Counc

The council plan to sell off the land where Bridge Park Community Centre is (pic credit: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

A controversial regeneration deal in Stonebridge involving off-shore companies has been given a green light by council chiefs.

Brent Council cabinet members approved a deal to sell public land, which includes the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, to Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings, whose chairman Nadhmi Auchi is a billionaire.

GMH already owns the Unisys buildings on a parcel of land next to the community centre.

The regeneration deal will include a new “state of the art” leisure centre and housing.

The Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) will be with a UK-registered subsidiary company still to be formed which has GMH as the parent company and another GMH subsidiary the British Virgin Islands based Harborough Invest Inc as the second guarantor.

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Cllr John Warren, leader of the Brent Conservative Group, said: “Users of the Bridge Park centre are very unhappy about this and are having a meeting next week to discuss a strategy because the council has had no consultation with them. The council is much more interested in dealing with billionaires in tax havens than they are the community.”

A spokeswoman for Brent Council said a consultation was held on leisure centre options in 2013.

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She added: “Prior to GMH establishing their UK-based subsidiary, Brent Council needed to formally confirm its intention to enter into the next stage of negotiations. As well as signalling that intent, Monday’s decision gave officers the authority required to take matters forward in the best interests of this borough.

“Obviously, there will be several more stages through which to pass before anything like a final deal emerges. With that in mind, until then, it is not possible nor appropriate to comment on hypothetical scenarios.

“Cabinet is a public meeting at which formal decisions are made following a lengthy process of internal development and discussion, as laid out in the constitution.

“Members of the public, and elected representatives, are able to attend and speak on any item, asking questions, raising concerns and suggesting alternative options. Whether or not that opportunity is taken up is beyond the council’s control.”

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