Fruit Market plans: Developer launches stinging attack on 'rude' Hull councillor
ONE of East Yorkshire's leading developers has launched a stinging attack on a senior city politician over plans for the old Fruit Market.
Simon Dixon, chief executive of Ispace, said he would not consider reviving his company's proposals for the area while Councillor Steven Bayes remained as the authority's cabinet member for regeneration.
He said: "Mr Bayes is quite possibly the rudest man I have ever met.
"I have known some rude people over the years but he takes things to a whole new level.
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"As far as I am concerned, I have no interest in doing anything in the Fruit Market as long as he is still in charge of the situation."
The council is set to start a new procurement process aimed at finding a lead developer to transform the area around Humber Street.
Five years ago, North Newbald-based Ispace joined forces with Hull development firm Wykeland and London-based property company Quintain Estates to bid for a £100m contract to revitalise the same neighbourhood.
After being shortlisted, the consortium was pipped by Manchester-based developers Igloo.
However, the Igloo scheme was subsequently shelved with the onset of the recession and the demise of regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.
As part of the work to pave the way for the proposed development, Ipsace funded and constructed the new wholesale fruit market complex on Priory Park.
The company also put forward separate plans for a mixed commercial and residential complex on the site of the former Pepi's bar next the Marina. The plans were subsequently withdrawn.
Mr Dixon met Cllr Bayes earlier this year to discuss possible future development opportunities on the Pepi's site.
He said: "I was completely up for it because of the work we had previously put into the area.
"We work across the country but Hull remains a very important place for us because that's where we come from.
"We did a short presentation but he never looked up once from his iPad.
"We took the time and trouble to organise the presentation only to be completely ignored by him.
"If other people looking to develop schemes in Hull have had similar experiences with him, then I genuinely worry about the future of the city with people like him in charge of things."
But Cllr Bayes said he was "not unduly worried" by Mr Dixon's remarks.
"He wanted us to give his company preferred developer status for the site, which was something I was not prepared to do," he said.
"He also wanted an extended timeframe to secure planning permission beyond the normal two years.
"Again, that was not something I agreed with because we need to be consistent.
"To be honest, I did not really want to have the meeting in the first place because I don't think having discussions with individual developers about certain sites within an area like the Fruit Market is a good idea.
"It send out the wrong messages about deals being stitched up behind closed doors and I don't want any part of that."