Friday, July 29, 2011

News: Oak investigates YES! Project termination


The board of Oak Holdings continue to investigate all the circumstances leading to the decision by Rotherham Council to terminate the development agreement for the proposed YES! Project.

In a half yearly report, the company posted a pre-tax loss of £209,000 for the six months to the end of April, compared to a £131,000 loss in the same period last year.

Substantial overhead cuts have been achieved and a number of directors have left the company including Steve Lewis who resigned as chief executive in March.

The company's main income is from leisure activities including the operation of Rother Valley Country Park in Rotherham. Oak took over the management of the well visited park as part of the developer agreement for the proposed £350m YES! Project on the adjacent Pithouse West site.

The developer agreement was terminated by the council in January after Oak made a material lack of progress on what was to be the largest undercover leisure based scheme in Europe. They continue to successfully manage the Rother Valley in accordance with the interim management agreement.

The board stated that: "The board continues to investigate all the circumstances leading to the decision by the Council to terminate the development agreement and will report any significant findings to shareholders in due course."

The board also reported that some capital investment has been made at the Rother Valley Country Park and that they are "seeking to add further substantial attractions within its current businesses, a number of which are awaiting Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council's "in principle" approval, a response for which is expected shortly."

Oak also continues to own the valuable freehold of the A57 land adjacent to the site of the Pithouse West site but they no longer capitalise financing costs associated with the land as technically this is no longer in the course of development following the termination.

Since the termination of the developer agreement, the council have put the land up for sale. One interested party is looking to create a £118m pound project that would create a unique culture and leisure development at Rother Valley Country Park based on the "Visions of China."

The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was keen to endorse a bid led by a consortium to secure £5.7m from the government's Regional Growth Fund that would "bring forward an iconic addition to the British tourism market."

Oak Holdings website
Rother Valley Country Park website

Images: RVCP


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