Friday, 5 August 2011
Hartlepool Council has decided to spend an undisclosed sum (rumored to be £2,000,000) on the derelict shed that is Jackson’s Landing. “It’s a good investment. We may even make a profit on it” was reportedly the council’s line. In my opinion any profit will be taken by one of the “development partners” lined up ready to step in. If there was money to be made then private developers would already by making it. That’s how the system in this country operates.
Entrepreneurs see an opportunity, put their own money into it and if it makes a profit they are quids in. If it fails they have lost their money. The entrepreneur balances risk of failure against the possibilities of success and backs schemes he judges will give a decent return. Until now no private developer judged the scheme to be worth risking their own money on. However, now Hartlepool Council is throwing £2,000,000 of public money into the pot that changes the calculation. The risk of a developer losing his own money becomes effectively zero, but the chance of him making money, while still small, remains positive.
It’s a no lose scenario for developers. The only people likely to lose are Hartlepool Council and that’s just public money so what’s the problem? Plenty more council tax payers to extort money from. The next time Hartlepool Council pleads poverty just remember they had £2,000,000 of your money to give away on a scheme no private company would touch with a bargepole.