EXCLUSIVE: Unconfirmed reports reaching Mr Monkey suggest that Chey Garland is about to pull the plug on the controversial Garlands Call Centre in Market Dock.
Who can forget the Gazette headlines of a year ago, heralding Garlands arrival and the prospect of 1000, new jobs being created or South Tyneside Council’s blatant manipulation of the press and the deliberate lies spinning of the truth which led to an outcry from local residents who argued that they had not been consulted.
There were also accusations that the council had deliberately misled local people and covered up the facts in relation to the actual number of jobs being created and the impact that such a development would have on this tranquil riverside setting.
It now seems that whilst the Council’s Head of Regeneration and Resources, Rick O’Farrell and Council Leader Iain Malcolm were busy kissing each others arses over the BT Strategic Partnership deal, Chey Garalnd was handing out redundancy notices to her staff.
Apparently Garlands have lost a significant contract and in any event have now decided to sell the building for a quick profit.
Mr Monkey has been busy piecing together all the bits of the jigsaw and reckons that if Garlands are selling then he will bet his tree-house on the new owner/occupiers being no other than BT.
BT are committed to building an office development on the river front, it’s a conditionof the Strategic Partnership deal.
Tthe only problem is that the council’s preferredsite of Harton Staithes doesn’t belong to them, instead they have to persuade One North East to sell the land that they own and then BT have to hope they can find a developer who is prepared to build in the current economic climate.
All this has to be done within 3 years or BT will have to pay a hefty financial penalty which has been built into the Strategic Partnership contract.
If Mr Monkey were advising BT he would be recommending that they acquire Garlands immediately, particuarly as there is some uncertainty over the long term viability of the site. It’s meets all BT’s criteria in terms of size, style and location and is ready for immediate occupation in October when the Strategic Partnership is due to start.
It’s beginning to look as though Chey Garland may well have pulled off a shrewd bit of business (probably with Rick O’Farrell’s help) and that a little bit of localised grief may well of yielded a healthy return!
Mr Monkey just wonders whether Chey sees her company’s long term future being in more sunnier climes. Apparently she is currently building a call centre in South Africa and may need a few extra Rand to finish it off!
I wonder whether Rick O’Farrell is thinking about swapping his BMW for Land Rover, apparently they’re better suited to African roads, if so do the people of South Tyneside a favour and take Iain Malcolm with you!