Decision details

Reading Gaol - Revised Bid

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decisions:

In accordance with Section 100B (4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chair had agreed that this item be considered as a matter of urgency, in order to respond promptly to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which had given the Council a period of exclusivity to submit a revised bid to purchase Reading Gaol with a deadline of 15 March 2021.

 

The Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on a revised bid to purchase Reading Gaol from the MoJ.  The report set out the activity to date, the value and risk associated with the Council’s bid and sought approval to submit a bid.  

 

Resolved –

 

(1)      That, noting the inherent risks as set out in the report, the Committee agree to submit a formal conditional bid to purchase the prison site and then seek a private sector partner to undertake a comprehensive regeneration of the site;

 

(2)      That the conditional bid for the purchase of the Gaol be as set out in the report, and the Executive Director for Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services be authorised, in consultation with the Council’s Chief Financial Officer and the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, to set the final value to be informed by the completion of the development appraisal;

 

(3)      That the conditions to be attached to the bid be provisionally agreed as set out in paragraph 4.7 of the report, and that the Executive Director for Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services be authorised, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, to agree the final conditions;

 

(4)      That the risks and uncertainties presented by a purchase of the Gaol, including the financial risks with the significant investment of capital and a significant and undefined revenue cost, be noted;

 

(5)      That, in the event of a successful bid, the Executive Director of Economic Growth & Neighbourhood Services and Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, be authorised to complete all necessary surveys, due diligence, legal and other related tasks in order to progress the purchase from a conditional to an unconditional bid;

 

(6)      That, should the conditional bid be accepted by the MoJ, the final terms of any proposed acquisition together with the financial implications (capital and revenue) be submitted to the Committee for approval once due diligence processes had concluded;

 

(7)      That, should the bid be accepted, a report to amend both the Capital Programme and revenue budget be submitted to a future meeting of the Council;

 

(8)      That, should the Council’s bid be successful, a cross-party Reading Gaol task-and-finish group be set up to make recommendations on any decisions required to be taken by either Policy Committee or the Council in respect of the future regeneration of Reading Gaol.

Publication date: 07/04/2021

Date of decision: 08/03/2021

Decided at meeting: 08/03/2021 - Policy Committee

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