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St Modwen financial crisis worsens

Keith Parkins | 11.09.2008 16:02 | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham

The view in the City is that there is going to be at least one major property casualty, with one or maybe more major property companies going to the wall. St Modwen is seen as a likely candidate.

town centre demolition site
town centre demolition site

Early in the year, St Modwen talking to the local comic in Farnborough said they were not effected by the property crash. A few weeks later, they were forced to disclose their half-yearly results, massive write down of property values, halving of share price, loss of £20 million. They have pulled the plug on Longbridge and Hatfield, citing lack of money.

In Farnborough, they opened a marketing suite to flog their non-existent yuppie flats. These will sit above a non-existent superstore. The flats are massively overpriced. The sale of these flats was seen for what it was, a last ditch attempt to raise the readies and bail out their failed Farnborough development.

St Modwen, through Kuwaiti-financed front-company KPI, bought Farnborough town centre ten years ago. Aided and abetted by the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, they have trashed the town centre. There is now little left. Within the last few months, more stores have pulled out and more are known to be pulling out.

Across the country, similar so-called town centre regeneration schemes, retail cum leisure cum yuppie flats, are collapsing, including one such scheme at nearby Aldershot. Regeneration schemes that have more to do with greed and speculation than regeneration, which is why the bubble has now burst.

Rumours have been circulating for some time that St Modwen is in difficulty. No one is surprised at this as they are known as The Developer from Hell and meet strong local opposition wherever they operate.

A new rumour circulating is that the financial backers of the Farnborough project, have, after ten years of pouring money down the drain, finally come to the conclusion that enough is enough and pulled the plug.

If true, it comes as no surprise, as nothing is happening. The town centre was demolished last year, leaving a dangerous demolition site, with deep holes and piles of rubble. Occasionally diggers move about, piles of rubble gets moved. It is as though a masquerade is taking place trying to give the illusion of work in progress, when in reality nothing is happening. This begs the question: who was being conned, the local council or the financial backers?

That the end is nigh is reinforced by the handful of workers left on site desperate to find alternative employment.

Anyone dumb enough to have bought one of the overpriced yuppie flats, flats that will have halved in value by 2010, will have learnt the hard way that a fool and his money is easily parted and what it means to buy a pig in a poke!

If St Modwen goes under, no one will mourn their loss, least of all the number of small businesses they have driven out of business.

Redrow is the latest builder to announce massive losses.


Reference and background

Fight The Height Walthamstow, St Modwen set to invade East London - 18 storey tower block planned, Indymedia UK, 30 April 2008

Mike Lane, The Regeneration Game (DVD)

Peter Marshall, Fight the Height in Walthamstow, Indymedia UK, 2 June 2008

Keith Parkins, Curitiba Designing a sustainable city, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Redevelopment of Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 9 April 2008

Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre in its final death throes, Indymedia UK, 21 April 2008

Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre - unsecured demolition site, Indymedia UK, 28 April 2008

Keith Parkins, More shops to close in Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 23 June 2008

Keith Parkins, Aldershot Westgate Scandal, Indymedia UK, 26 June 2008

Keith Parkins, Aldershot ghost town, Indymedia UK, 30 June 2008

Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre crisis worsens, Indymedia UK, 3 July 2008

Keith Parkins, Yuppie flats for sale, Indymedia UK, 8 July 2008

Keith Parkins, Collapse of town centre regeneration schemes, Indymedia UK, 14 July 2008

Keith Parkins, St Modwen financial crisis, Indymedia UK, 17 July 2008

Keith Parkins, Town centre regeneration schemes, Indymedia UK, 18 July 2008

Keith Parkins
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Queens Market go to City Hall

12.09.2008 17:17

Adding to the pressure on St Modwen, Friends of Queens Market petitioned Mayor Boris at City Hall to ask him the intervene to stop the trashing of Queen's Market.

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