Deal or no deal?
Posted Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:47
Yesterday was another day, and another public meeting. This time at Marston Moretaine, regarding the proposed eco town.
Over 200 people attended, many stood outside the doors in the car park.
As always it is good to see a community come together, albeit drawn by a single issue which presents an awful threat to that particular community's way of life.
A new issue to have arisen since the last public meeting is the news that one of the developers has withdrawn from the project.
This is the third developer on a national level to have withdrawn from an eco town.
Earlier this week Chase Holdings in Birmingham, a huge developer largely responsible for rebuilding the city, called in the administrators - times are not good for developers, and they are probably going to get much worse.
If you are a developer investing in a government backed and proposed project, you will be selling the very fact - that it's backed by the government - very hard indeed to your potential investors.
Each developer is facing two years of working up the project which will come at a fairly substantial cost.
There may be a change of government in 2010 and if it’s the Conservatives that take power we have said very clearly – if local people don’t want it, it won't happen.
The single most important assets owned by developers are their land banks and they depend very heavily on external investors. Those investors need certain assurances, such as, when is my exit and how much do I make?
They also like to see a nice clean project without too many glitches or problems to hold the project up and delay their exit strategy.
The problem is, investors are beginning to see through the hype and hear the protestors, they are getting cold feet and who can blame them? In light of the protests and weak proposals set on the table, as an investor you would look for reassuring ‘noises off’ from government , something to calm your nerves.
What you hear is Caroline Flint annunciating very clearly and slowly on the television when interviewed, “This is not a done deal”.
She has said it over and over again, very deliberately, at every meeting , in the Chamber and each time she has been on television.
Is she commercially naïve? Does she not realise it is a disastrous thing to say for those developers, who she expects to make this project happen?
Or is this her way of making a project that her heart is very plainly and clearly not in, fall and collapse?
Maybe she will tell us soon - deal, or no deal.
Thanks to Hugh and everyone who organised and attended last night's meeting, great to meet you all.
Thank you to the local bobby on the beat who came along too, Marston Moretaine is very lucky to have such a knowledgeable and committed officer.
See you all on the march!
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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