Sunday, 22 January 2012

Boaters' financial contribution to British Waterways: update

FYI - I have just added the following to the previous post on this:

Addendum - 22 January 2012 - As anyone who has used the link to my FOI on this will see, BW has answered and say that an additional £4.7M of their annual income comes from businesses whose primary customers are boaters. Add this to the the figures above and we have confirmation that Boaters provide at least 20% of BW's annual income worth around £35 million pa at last year's rates.

British Waterways' Commercial activities - Risk versus Gain

Something strange for you today - I am going to say something positive about British Waterways' property portfolio! (Before you get too excited do read the whole thing!)

Headline news is the Wood Wharf development in London Docklands, and that Canary Wharf Group has bought out Ballymore and British Waterways' regeneration/redevelopment interests in the scheme. British Waterways retain their freehold interest and it seems have some reasonable expectation of significant rental income in the medium to long term, once individual elements in the regeneration are completed and let.

Whatever the detailed in and outs of the Wood Wharf deal, this deal is, to me at least, reassuring. This much safer and less risky model of commercial investment, where BW stick to the Landlord function and stay out of the riskier Developer function, is one I have advocated to BW for years. I therefore have to be pleased about this week's events.

Now to return to my usual more critical mode!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

British Waterways confirms that CRT represents privatisation (and a warning to the CRT Transition Trustees?)

It seems we have confirmation of my previous suggestion from a reliable source - British Waterways.

Their web page 'Charitable Trust Plans' today states that, "In April 2012 the Canal and River Trust will take over as the guardian of the waterways in England and Wales bring to an end over 60 years of public ownership."

RIP the Select Committee who said:  We were extremely surprised to discover that privatisation was one of the options being considered by BW’s ongoing strategic options review, and are disappointed we were not informed about this during our evidence sessions with BW. In our view, privatisation is not a serious option: the waterways network is a public asset providing wide benefits to society and some Government funding will always be necessary. It should be ruled out by the Government.