Rochdale defends position on collapse of BTR sale
After Livingway pulled out of a £30m acquisition of a publicly-owned residential scheme, the council has hit back at accusations it was to blame for the deal falling through.
Livingway, which agreed to acquire the completed 242-apartment Upperbanks development in May, terminated the agreement late last week claiming the council “did not comply with a technical matter in our agreement” and that the authority was “unable to satisfy a material condition of the contract”.
A spokesperson for Rochdale Council said the authority was “extremely disappointed [about the] suggestion the council is in some way responsible for the collapse of the deal to purchase the Upperbanks development”.
“This is not an accurate account of the overall position and the council must therefore set the record straight,” the spokesperson added.
While Livingway said Rochdale Council’s refusal to agree an alternative route to completing the transaction was the reason for the deal’s collapse, the authority has countered that the deal fell through because it was “unwilling” to agree to Livingway’s request to delay the purchase and accept additional costs.
The council spokesperson said: “The council entered into an agreement with Livingway in May 2023. The purchase was due to complete in late September but shortly before that Livingway made a request to delay the purchase.
“The council was prepared to consider this request but expected the resulting additional costs from the delay would be met.
“Livingway, however, was not prepared to agree to this. The variation that Livingway was seeking was not in line with the contractual agreement that had previously been agreed by them and could therefore not be accepted.
“Livingway was entitled to terminate the agreement on a technical matter and did so following the council’s unwillingness to delay the purchase and accept additional costs.”
Following the deal’s collapse, Rochdale Council intends to retain the build-to-rent asset in consultation with “a specialist market-leading operator”.
“The council…has taken the decision to retain the apartments and bring forward a high-quality scheme for the benefit of Rochdale, the spokesperson added.
“This sits in line with Rochdale Council’s continued commitment to bringing forward exciting new changes to the town centre and delivering new first-of-its-kind offerings for the Rochdale community. We firmly believe that Rochdale is a perfect location for such a high-quality build-to-rent accommodation and we look forward to welcoming tenants to the scheme.”
In response to Rochdale Council’s version of events, Livingway maintained its earlier stance.