Summercross Developers Underhand Tactics


During the early days of save the summercross campaign, Otley Pub Club Chairman Peter Jackson was a consultant to the hospitality industry. 

He was asked if he could give an opinion on the summercross into its viability as a public house. He undertook to do a profit & Loss account for the financial year commencing June 2006.

He produced a report which was welcoming news, read for yourself and be the judge on these developers.

Sales figures in the Profit & Loss were based on information available at the time which was wet only sales on Black Sheep Brewery products. The outcome was impressive, the summercross had a 14.8% profit margin some £26,612.

Had information been available on food sales and other drinks suppliers then this figure would have been higher.

The information below clearly shows how these people use excuses to fulfil their greed for wealth.

This was a viable public house with interested parties wishing to purchase and retain the summercross as vibrant public house.

In December 2005 the Summercross was one of a block of 205 pubs that were sold  to the Petchey Group after which the pub closed. However, this proved to be a turning point. The pub soon reopened with a committed new landlord who took out a lease (with an option to renew) with Save Investments (part of the Petchey Group), and the pub started to prosper again.

Unfortunately, on 4 September 2006 the Summercross was purchased for £495,000 by Phase 7 Properties.The latter are a low profile London-based company who appear to specialise in redeveloping pubs as housing. The landlord only ever dealt with their agents, another low profile company called Country Estates Management, who started to make things increasingly difficult.

On 31 August 2007 a formal agreement was concluded that Phase 7 Properties would sell the Summercross to Chartford Homes. Unaware of this development, the landlord experiencing considerable procrastination from Country Estates Management about renewing his current lease. Eventually the landlord was informed that the lease would not be renewed and given notice to quit.

The Summercross closed on 27 October 2007. On 12 November 2007 it was purchased with vacant possession by Chartford Homes for £1,000,000. This implies that Phase 7 Properties made a profit of £505,000 from owning owning the property for 14 months and removing the landlord. It also suggests that Chartford Homes believed that they would get planning permission for a high density development (in addition to buying near the peak of the market).

We then have to look at the people behind these proposed developments and reasons for the developments and again GREED is the common factor.

The Directors of Charterford Homes Norman Stubbs & David Spencer are also Directors of Westward Care having 26% & 25% shares respectively.

After receiving planning permission they deliberately leave the site to fall into disrepair. The actions of these people only show how they manipulate the planning process for their own gain and not the good of the community.

Westward Care have treated the people east of Otley with contempt. They have done nothing at all with the Summercross building since they acquired the pub, which was closed against the wishes of the local community and the small businessman running it, and have allowed this historic building to fall into disrepair.

Since then they have broken promises as to when they would start work and have failed to keep the community informed of their plans.

They have had four years to go ahead with their plans, plans that were never wanted by most local people. They should have shown some integrity and either got on with the building straight away or sold the site to one of the companies who wanted to buy and re-open the pub.

We do want care homes, but we want affordable ones that don’t involve the destruction of a community asset. This care home plan was only ever a wheeze dreamt up because housing was not allowed on the site, so anyone who thinks this is about provision for older people are kidding themselves. The Summercross was shut in a shabby deal between greedy property developers out to make money for themselves without caring about a piece of Otley history.

City Councillor Ryk Downs wrote to the developers, this is what he says,

I recently wrote to a number of owners of derelict land in Otley that has become an eyesore.

I have today received the following letter from the owners of the Summercross site. They have let the site become an eyesore. It is located at an important location as you come into Oltey from Pool and Harrogate and I wrote asking them to be responsible owners ans tidy up their site. I am pleased to say they have now undertaken to do this. Although I still wish they would retain it as a community pub. It has been a shame to watch this much loved pub slowly deteriorate, despite an excellent campaign by local residents. There is only one other pub in Otley that remains outside the Town Centre.

Read their letter here

“The closure of the Summercross is of particular concern as it shows that any pub in a nice location and particularly with a bit of land is not safe from the developers’ bulldozers.”



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