“Not a responsible use of public funds”: Padley rejects Council’s £1m+ re-location plan.

In a previous Derby News article “Dubrek Studios’ community facility to be demolished and made ‘homeless’ by Council’s flawed planning” (Nov 7th 2021) I referred to the fact that the Council was planning to pay Padley Centre over £1m to re-locate from Becket Street to 27 Charnwood Street (Ukrainian Association building), to make way for the new Becketwell Performance Venue.

“This financial support from Derby City Council, which will be well in excess of £1m, includes

1. The purchase of the freehold of Padley House from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing.
2. The purchase of the leasehold of Padley House from the Padley Group
3. The purchase of the freehold of the Padley Centre warehouse from the Padley Group
4. The purchase of a property for Padley to move into
5. The renovation of the new property for Padley to use.

Originally the purchase of the new property was going to be the subject of a loan from the Council – this will now become a non-repayable grant.”

Extract from article “Dubrek Studios’ community facility to be demolished and made ‘homeless’ by Council’s flawed planning”

Whilst the work of the Padley Centre is widely appreciated, this new location would not include the 12 bed hostel nor the daily drop-in centre for rough sleepers/homeless people; it was billed as something akin to a “training centre” for those referred by other agencies.

On the 11th November the cross-Party Executive Scrutiny Board recommended to Cabinet, that it:

“… is concerned that the costs of the Padley relocation are already escalating, primarily due to the new location being potentially over-priced and the property being a very poor state. To ensure that tax payers’ money is not wasted, the Executive Scrutiny Board resolved to recommend to Council Cabinet that the permanent relocation should be reviewed prior to proceeding with the purchase, which is facilitated by the need to move to a temporary location”

At the Cabinet Meeting on the 11th November 2021, Cllr Shanker ( Labour) highlighted that

“…the price that we’re actually paying for the the building has gone up, the cost of making it suitable for Padley has gone up…the temporary move now allows us to just reflect, and make sure, that the purchase of the new home is the right decision and value for money for the tax payer”

Despite these concerns, expressed by a range of non-Tory Cllrs, the Cabinet still voted to proceed with the plan to pay £1m+ to move Padley.

This week, the Chair of the Padley Trustees, Allan Shaw, wrote to all Cllrs, informing them of the outcome of Padley’s most recent Board meeting. Given the on-going property title issues with the new premises at 27 Charnwood Street, and the availability of temporary accommodation in the City, the Board decided not to proceed with the purchase. Shaw went on to say:

“This was a difficult decision for the Trustees to make recognising the considerable amount of work which many, including yourselves, had put into this planned move, but the Board is convinced that this outcome is in the best interests of our users and the City as a whole. It is important that, working in partnership with City officers, we develop a service around need. With such a large potential investment in 27 Charnwood St, we were in danger of developing a service around the new premises rather than the other way round. This would have been unwise and not a responsible use of the public funds made available.”


The most disturbing aspect of this episode is that neither Senior Council Officers nor any of the Tory Cabinet had the presence of mind and objectivity to recognise that spending so much money, on this convenient outcome, might not be a good use of public funds and might not be value for money. It also might not serve the City or the charity’s objectives.

They didn’t listen to those scrutinising them!

It is to the credit of the Padley Trustees that they took a step back and recognised that they “were in danger of developing a service around the new premises rather than the other way round” – always a grave mistake when viewing matters strategically and with a keen eye on value for money.

This is one of many examples of a Tory Cabinet being mutually misled by an ill-conceived “game plan” that seems to be based on shallow analysis, poor critical thinking, and political expedience rather than objective common sense and a focus on what is truly in the best interests of the whole City

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