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St Modwen admit no cinema for Farnborough

Keith Parkins | 20.09.2008 13:51 | Repression | Social Struggles | London

Developer from Hell St Modwen has been forced to admit what was common knowledge, that there is no cinema for Farnborough town centre. They were also forced to admit to yet more delays for their so-called redevelopment of Farnborough town centre, a town centre that was not in need of redevelopment until they trashed it.

once a thriving town centre
once a thriving town centre

Ten years ago St Modwen bought Farnborough town centre. It was then a thriving town centre with many small and family businesses. St Modwen then proceeded to trash the town centre, driving out all the small businesses.

Last year St Modwen demolished half the town centre. All that is now left is an empty demolition site. Diggers move around, piles of rubble get moved around, all an illusion to create the impression of work in progress.

There are now few workers on site. They have all left as they know the project is at end and they will have no work. More rubble is believed to have been dumped on site from elsewhere.

A couple of years after buying the town centre, KPI/St Modwen (KPI is a Kuwaiti-financed front-company for St Modwen) got planning consent for a bar/cinema complex (the bar aspect played down). This was the carrot St Modwen dangled before the council to push everything else through. They have pulled the same trick at Bognor Regis and Walthamstow, both places already gave viable cinemas or art complexes which would suffer.

Planning consent lasts five years. It has long expired for Farnborough.

Before a recent Rotten Borough of Rushmoor council committee, St Modwen were forced to admit there was no cinema. In other words, they had pulled a fast one which the gullible councillors had fallen for.

Not that the cinema/bar complex is universally welcome as it would have be hell for the nearby residential area.

Early this year St Modwen erected hoardings showing the retailers they were bringing in to their non-existent development. Yet another con. They were all false names but intended to fool a casual observer, a clear case of passing off, using another's brand name to enhance ones own piss-poor reputation.

St Modwen has been forced to take the hoardings down. In their place, promotion for their over-priced yuppie flats which will overlook the delivery yard of the superstore (with 24-hour round-the-clock deliveries).

In the meantime, Firgrove Court, social housing of 28 maisonettes, has been demolished to make way for the car park for the superstore, the tenants kicked out of their homes by Pavilion Housing Association.

There is more than sufficient grounds to hold a public inquiry into what has gone wrong. But who to carry it out? The council lacks clean hands. There are more than sufficient grounds to serve a CPO. But the council not competent to run a piss up in a brewery.

There are rumours that the financial backers of the Farnborough project have pulled the plug. St Modwen are known to be in financial trouble, recently reported a half-yearly loss, have pulled the plug at Hatfield and Longbridge.

St Modwen are known as the Developer from Hell, have a reputation for trashing town centres and green areas, are strongly opposed wherever they operate.

The business model St Modwen is pushing, retail cum leisure cum yuppie flats is a flawed business model and has already seen some spectacular failures, including at nearby Aldershot.

No one will be surprised to see St Modwen go under, leaving behind a trail of town centre destruction.


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, St Modwen financial crisis worsens, Indymedia UK, 11 September 2008

Melanie Roberts, Cinema: Anger at 'broken promises', Farnborough News, 19 September 2008

Keith Parkins
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