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Birmingham Hippodrome

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West Midlands Arts News Collective

Dear Birmingham City Council,

The Council owns the freehold of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre but provides massive subsidy to it by apparently granting a 125 lease at just a peppercorn rent. On top of that it seems the Council has granted the Hippodrome an option to purchase the theatre and associated land and also lent it money.

The freehold title WM172405 says in Charges Register 3 Note 2 "The Lease contains an option to purchase the freehold on the terms therein mentioned." What are the terms of this deal and does it exclude anyone else from buying the freehold? How much did the Council get for granting this option?

The Lease title WM677693 also says the Council have lent money to the Hippodrome. Why would this be when they are getting the theatre rent free? There seems to be at least one charge on the property. Please disclose copies of all charges and say what they were for and how much is still owed to the Council under them and when payment is to be made.

Does the Lease permit the Council to stop charging a peppercorn rent and permit it to start charging a commercial rent? If not, why not?

Yours faithfully,

West Midlands Arts News Collective

West Midlands Arts News Collective

Dear Birmingham City Council,

Your response was due on 11th October.

Yours faithfully,

West Midlands Arts News Collective

Mark Bieganski, Birmingham City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sirs

 

Further to your Freedom of information enquiry of 18^th September 2017

The Council owns the freehold of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre but
provides massive subsidy to it by apparently granting a 125 lease at just
a peppercorn rent. On top of that it seems the Council has granted the
Hippodrome an option to purchase the theatre and associated land and also
lent it money.

The freehold title WM172405 says in Charges Register 3 Note 2 "The Lease
contains an option to purchase the freehold on the terms therein
mentioned." What are the terms of this deal and does it exclude anyone
else from buying the freehold? How much did the Council get for granting
this option?

The Lease title WM677693 also says the Council have lent money to the
Hippodrome. Why would this be when they are getting the theatre rent free?
There seems to be at least one charge on the property. Please disclose
copies of all charges and say what they were for and how much is still
owed to the Council under them and when payment is to be made.

Does the Lease permit the Council to stop charging a peppercorn rent and
permit it to start charging a commercial rent? If not, why not?

 

I would respond as follows. 

Your enquiry has been made with reference to the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA), I would advise you that the Council does hold the information
you have requested and is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Section 39.
Section 39 of the FOIA provides an exemption for information that falls
within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the
EIR) that give rights of public access to environmental information held
by public authorities.

 

Information is environmental if it meets the definition set out in
regulation 2 of the  EIR. Regulation 2(1)(a) covers the state of the
elements of the environment including water, soil, land and landscape.
Regulation 2(1)(c) provides that information is environmental where it is
on: “measures (including administrative measures),such as policies,
legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities
affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in
[2(1)](a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect
those elements.”

 

Title Deeds, and Land Registry documentation is information about a piece
of land, and this includes measures affecting it such as land charges,
covenants, or rights of way etc. It’s essentially environmental
information relating to registration of land, which can be seen as
information on a measure – namely the process of registering of land –
that is likely to affect the land itself. Therefore how a piece of land is
registered, and to whom, is likely to affect the use of that land and have
a direct effect on it.

 

For ease of reference and answering your queries I have broken them into
their component parts.

You have asked

The freehold title WM172405 says in Charges Register 3 Note 2 "The Lease
contains an option to purchase the freehold on the terms therein
mentioned." What are the terms of this deal and does it exclude anyone
else from buying the freehold?

The terms for this option are as set out in the lease registered title
reference WM677693 which also clearly state who may exercise that option.
The lease is a public record and a copy can be obtained from the following
website:

[1]http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/

 

How much did the Council get for granting this option?

The terms for the granting of the option including any monies paid are as
set out in the lease registered title reference WM677693.

 

The Lease title WM677693 also says the Council have lent money to the
Hippodrome. Why would this be when they are getting the theatre rent free?

The rationale for granting a loan to the Hippodrome was the subject of a
public report dated 28 November 2005. I have attached a copy of the
report. I can advise that this enabled the acceleration of the grant of
the lease and supported the theatre’s applications for lottery funding.

 

Please be advised there is no outstanding loan from Birmingham City
Council to the Hippodrome.  This is evidenced by the Hippodrome’s balance
sheet (31 March 2016) with no long term creditors, i.e. no liability for
repayments due after 31 March 2017, per page 28 of the attached accounts,
downloaded from
[2]http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/cha...).

whereas a loan with anything outstanding at this date would have an entry
here.

 

Does the Lease permit the Council to stop charging a peppercorn rent and
permit it to start charging a commercial rent? If not, why not?

The terms for the lease are as set out in registered title reference
WM677693.  The lease is in essence a contract between the parties and
changing the terms of the lease requires mutual agreement.  We can confirm
that the requested information (registered title reference WM677693) is
available at the following website

[3]http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/

 

Where you have requested

‘There seems to be at least one charge on the property. Please disclose
copies of all charges and say what they were for’

Charges registered against title are a matter of public record and the
requested information is available at the following website

[4]http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/

 

Where you have requested the council ‘disclose …how much is still owed to
the Council under them and when payment is to be made’  

Please see my comments above regarding the loan.  There is no outstanding
loan from Birmingham City Council to the Hippodrome. 

 

Review

Complaints are handled by Birmingham City Council’s central FOI team in
accordance with the Council’s complaints procedure. If you wish to make a
complaint regarding this response you should contact the Information
Governance Team at: [5][Birmingham City Council request email]

 

Please ensure that you give the reasons for your complaint and quote the
reference number FOI17569 to enable your enquiry to be located on our
database.

 

If subsequently you are not satisfied with the Council’s decision you may
apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure
provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at
the following address www.ico.org.uk.

 

Data Protection Act 1998

The information you have provided within your Freedom of Information
request will be held on our database and may also be held within manual
records for a period of 2 years from the date Birmingham City Council
received your request.  Any personal data that you provide to Birmingham
City Council will be held in line with the requirements set out within the
Data Protection Act 1998.

Re Use of Public Sector Information

Where Birmingham City Council is the copyright holder of any information
that may be released, re-use for personal, educational or non-commercial
purposes is permitted without further reference to the City Council. 
Where the re-use is for other purposes, such as commercial re-use, the
applicant should notify the City Council in writing to seek approval or
agree terms for re-use.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

 

Name:  Mark Bieganski
Job Title:  Head of Property Strategy and Information
|  0121 303 3645 (office) | 07825 904495  (mobile) |  0121 303 3947 (fax)
postal address:  Birmingham Property Services, Economy Directorate,

Birmingham City Council, PO Box 16255,  Birmingham, B2 2WT
sat-nav address:  10 Woodcock Street, Birmingham, B7 4BL
[6]http://www.birminghampropertyservices.co...

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/
2. http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/cha...
3. http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/
4. http://www.landregistry-titledeeds.co.uk/
5. mailto:[Birmingham City Council request email]
6. http://www.birminghampropertyservices.co...

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