Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Green Property's Shabby Treatment Of A Building & Its Tenants

The cavalier disregard for one of Liverpool's most distinctive & elegant buildings, India Buildings by its owners Green Property group has sadly continued since I commented on the matter a few months ago (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/answers-needed-over-india-buildings.html ).
The owners stupidly (& illegally) removed six bronze plaques from the building's exterior last month (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/green-property-group-vandalise.htmlhttp://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2012/11/22/future-of-india-buildings-in-doubt-after-liverpool-council-cautions-owners-over-illegal-removing-of-entrance-plaques-99623-32280635/ ). According to the Post's report, the building's tenants were informed that "in the interim the public will soon be denied access from the Brunswick [Street] entrance."
Green Property's intention to deny access to the public in this way has become something of an embarrassing farce for them; contradiction has become the watch-word for their approach. You have to wonder about the expertise & judgment of their PR advisers Paver Smith (http://www.paversmith.co.uk ), an outfit which proudly declares "managing reputations" to be its forte on its home page. 
There is controversy concerning Green Property's wish to deny public access through the arcade. Its thoroughfare was built on what used to be Chorley Street & legal opinion seems to suggest that permission from Liverpool City Council would be sought for such a move.
Perhaps realising that their position is very much open to question, Green Property performed a volte-face on the plaques, restoring them to the building's exterior (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2112/11/23/u-turn-on-blunder-at-liverpool-s-india-buildings-100252-32290010/ ). However, the damage caused by the plaques' removal in the first place was significant (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/india-building-mutiny-by-green-property.html ).
Green Property are seemingly unconcerned about the fact that people's livelihoods are at stake on this issue. Instead, mixed messages have been issued from the owners, perhaps reflecting a level of pathetic incompetence or internal dissent within the group (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2012/12/04/liverpool-india-buildings-arcade-stall-holders-set-for-public-sit-in-99623-32358392/ :
"Green Property manager Gill Thom wrote to shop tenants saying two retail experts reviewed the arcade and there was no positive feed back on the arcade's future.
"She wrote : 'We were advised the space would be better used as management offices to support the building as staff would be more accessible. We will contact tenants in due course.' 
"But Green Property director Mike Tapp said: 'There are no plans to close the Brunswick Street entrance or public access to the arcade.
" 'We are committed to spending capital money for modernisation and changes. It is a struggle to get retailers into Holt's Arcade because it is not a destination, so we want to put building management offices there as a stop-gap.' "
Judging by their hitherto lamentable actions, one has to take their claim that such a move is "stop-gap" with a pinch of salt. Additionally, it could be argued that the reduced footfall in the arcade is attributable to, among other factors, an unwillingness or inability of Green Property to properly project to a local audience the asset they own; Liverpool One's emphasis on tacky consumer culture is absurdly cited by some as a factor. It isn't. What the arcade has to offer is qualitatively superior to Grosvenorpool's tawdry fare (http://www.baytvliverpool.co.uk/vod/?vid=JBV50b38ff3c9d65 ).
A sit-in by the building's tenants is planned at 1.30 tomorrow afternoon. If you're in the vicinity, showing your support for them would be greatly appreciated.

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