Anger over U-turn on estate leases


- Credit: Archant

A U-TURN on lease terms for commercial units at a Portishead industrial estate has angered people in the town.

In April, land agents Ignis Real Estate announced plans for the redevelopment of Old Mill Road to coincide with the possible opening of a new railway station on adjacent land in 2017. Despite obtaining planning permission, businesses that were gong to set up on the estate pulled out because Ignis would only offer four-year leases.

With delays on the opening of the railway line now likely, Ignis has confirmed that leases are now being offered until at least 2019.

Casualties of the original short lease terms included an indoor swimming pool for babies and toddlers and an indoor wheels park.

Local businessmen Jason Harvey and Neil Delaney spent thousands of pounds on preparations and plans for an indoor skatepark in Old Mill Road.

Jason said: “I had no idea that leases are now available until 2019 and it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. We spent so much time and money preparing for an indoor skatepark but had to walk away in the end when the lease was presented and we were told it would only be until 2017. We had always expected it to run until at least 2019 and had based our whole business plan on the additional years.”

Jason says he and Neil have now invested their money in other projects and unless alternative financial backing can be found they cannot return to their skatepark dream.

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Jason added: “Portishead would have an indoor skatepark in operation by now, had the landlords seen fit to offer the longer leases in the first place.”

Councillor David Pasley said: “It’s such a shame that opportunities have been lost for the people of Portishead, especially the young people, because of the short term views of the landowners.

“I hope Portishead can now look forward to some exciting new enterprises moving in to Old Mill Road that will benefit the local community.”

A spokesman for Ignis Real Estate said: “Owners Phoenix Life Limited have decided to allow lettings in Old Mill Road with terms certain through to 2019.

“This does not mean we are ignoring the development opportunities that are clearly present in the town, but in the short to medium term the focus is going to be on generating occupiers for the industrial units in their existing form and to allow existing businesses to further invest in their units.”