In response to a Freedom of Information request, the York Council has revealed that it has received £13,333 in rent from the Spark container village on Piccadilly since they first arrived in September 2017.
This amounts to little more than £700 a month since the organisation took over the prime site.
No payments have been received by the Council from the “profit sharing” scheme agreed as part of the deal to allow shipping containers to be installed on the site. The council says it is still awaiting receipt of accounts for last year. The last accounts filed by Spark were for the year ending March 2018.
£19,856 is owed by Spark and its tenants for Business Rates. The Council says that it is taking recovery action.
The original Spark business pitch to the Council talked about a £71,000 profit each year. Part of this was to be used to repay the Council’s initial investment (which cost over £40,000) in new utility infrastructure,
The container village has been controversial from the start with long delays in meeting some planning conditions. An instruction to replace graffiti style street art with cladding on the Piccadilly frontage is still outstanding (click for background)
The contract allows for the Council to take back the site if, after 21 days, the tenants have failed to pay the rent or complied with their obligations under the Lease.
Many of the individual units have been empty over recent months.
Although warmer weather may give the containers a temporary boost in customer numbers, it is surely long overdue for the Council to test the market by advertising the site for permanent redevelopment.