Swindon Borough Council has served notice of its intention to end a development agreement with Moirai Capital Investments Limited. The Council took the decision after proposals by Moirai to transform the area with more than £100m of investment has stalled until way past the time they were expected to meet their development targets.
On the 9th December the Council served Moirai notice of its intention to terminate the development agreement with Moirai and three of the leases granted to the developer covering the former Clares site, which had been earmarked for an indoor ski slope, water park, indoor arena, hotel and other leisure and sports-related retail.
The Council had the right to end the development agreement and the leases when key targets were not met, under the terms of the development agreement. Moirai has until 12 January to fulfil the terms of the notice otherwise the development and the leases will automatically terminate.
The Swindon Labour Group had advocated ending the terms of the North Star Development Agreement as far back as 2014 after Moirai had ripped off many local businesses out of thousands of pounds by making their shell company insolvent and after they failed to meet the development targets of the original North Star Development Agreement (The Council had to agree to a second development agreement which Moirai have subsequently now not met either).
At every stage since the Labour Group called for Moirai to be stripped of the lease, the Conservative administration on the Council had publicly backed Moirai. And the Conservative administration are still leaving Moirai with a 99 year lease to run the Oasis.
The Labour Group’s Shadow Lead for Leisure, Councillor Jim Robbins, said:
"We are delighted that the Tory administration have finally woken up to the fact that Moirai are totally incapable of delivering the Snowdome project. We had serious concerns about the project early on in 2014, and first called on Moirai to be stripped of the deal later that year after they cynically fleeced local companies out of thousands of pounds.
It is laughable that Councillor Perkins has the cheek to describe this decision as 'decisive' as they have put off making a decision for as long as possible in the forlorn hope that Moirai could magically deliver.
I also have deep concerns with the Council’s decision to allow Moirai to continue running the Oasis through their long-term lease. Such a move would end any potential for this site along with the Clare’s site, being converted in to a regional leisure hub. And given their track record, why on earth are we allowing a failed company like Moirai to hold on to one of our key leisure assets? Maybe Coun Perkins could tell us when Moirai last paid the rent on the building?”