The economic fallout from the unnecessary Coronavirus lockdown has resulted in Councillors at Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) requesting another vote on Labour leader Siddons’ flagship Argos project.
The Argos project spends £22million of taxpayer’s money on a building to replace the current Argos building. When completed the new building will be worth £7.5million, a loss of £14.5million on the initial investment.
On the subject of bad investments, the £14million SBC purchase of the St Nicholas Hotel from Travelodge is increasingly looking like another loss making investment as Travelodge have announced they want to renegotiate their rents. The entire deal was built on Travelodge rental payments. No doubt the local taxpayer will be stung again as those who negotiated the deal didn’t include any clause to make provision for turmoil in the industry.
Councillors have made urgent inquiries of senior Council officers with Lisa Dixon, the Director of Legal & Democratic Services, responding to say there was no expected change to the council budget or policy so there is no need for full council to revisit the £22million Argos decision in the turbulent post-Coronavirus economic climate.
Council leader Siddons appeared on Look North on Tuesday begging for more central government money due to the loss of tourism revenue under lockdown, with the council claiming to face financial ruin. Siddons anticipates that by the end of the summer the Council will have a shortfall of £12million or 70% of the annual budget.
The reality of the situation is that Siddons is begging central government for money so he can save his flagship Argos project from being axed entirely. It probably wasn’t the brightest idea to shut Foreshore Road to traffic, close all the car parks tourists normally use and tell prospective visitors not to travel for the past few weeks.