UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD TO PAY PEEL OVER £20MILLION IN RENT!
After a huge Freedom of Information battle with the University of Salford which was finally resolved by the Freedom of Information Commissioner last month, the Salford Star can now reveal that the rent being paid to Peel Media (Peel Holdings) for its new four floor campus at MediaCityUK is £19,126,141 (excluding VAT) until November 2020. Or £2.125million a year. Or £40,867 per week.
The figure was finally revealed to Salford Star in a letter from Salford University's Head of Information Governance, Matthew Stephenson, following a ruling by the Freedom of Information Commissioner that included five breeches of the Freedom of Information Act by the University over the MediaCityUK affair (see here for further details).
The Salford Star was previously informed by the University that the information was publicly available (it wasn't). Then we were told it would "prejudice commercial interests" and that disclosing the information "would be likely to lead to a breakdown in the relationship we have with Peel Holdings…and possibly legal action"
At the beginning of March, the Freedom of Information Commissioner told the University to release the information within 35 days. Last week, a two line statement arrived titled `University of Salford's rental costs at Media CityUK until 2020'… To November 2020: £19,126,141. The above figure is exclusive of VAT and may change as the rent is subject to review in 2015.
Not only does the rental figure of £19,126,141 exclude VAT, it's also not clear whether this includes service charges etc.
In its last set of accounts the University of Salford also disclosed a fit out cost of £30.41million for its four floor space at MediaCityUK, making a conservative total cost of £50million over the next nine years.
The move to MediaCityUK is being part financed by a 25 year loan of £20million at a fixed interest rate of 5.18%. The move has also been financed by the University's infamous `Project Headroom' which led to hundreds of staff losing their jobs and the Salford University Campus Unions to issue a formal reply to University bosses in 2008, urging withdrawal from MediaCityUK…
"If Media City increases our operating costs by £5million per annum, and this is to be funded by commercial contracts, then assuming a profit margin of 10% an extra £50million of contracts will be required" it stated "We have yet to receive any information that one single contract has been signed which will bring any increased income to the University."
"It appears that the University simply `hopes' that if we occupy a building near the BBC, then income will follow" it added "…We can only conclude that Media City is the most speculative and high risk investment imaginable. We cannot see that this justifies the damage Project Headroom is doing to the rest of the University."
The University of Salford is hoping to attract around 1,500 graduate and post graduate students to the new MediaCityUK campus, and will reveal its new rate of tuition fees later this month. They are expected to be around £9000 a year per student.
Photo by Jemma Cooper