A food hub developer and community business founder have fallen out – meaning plans for a new cookery school have been scrapped before it opened.
Jayne Bradley, the founder of social enterprise called Kitchen, which was set to be a major feature of the £5 million School Yard scheme, is now expected set up elsewhere after a dispute over contracts with developer EDG Property.
EDG Property founder Neil Edginton said he was disappointed by the move after committing “considerable resource” into the initiative, which formed part of wider plans for the Harborne Clock Tower site.
However, Ms Bradley said timing and contractual issues had become “insurmountable”.
The Post understands Ms Bradley is planning to set up the operation at the Calthorpe Estates food hub in Edgbaston instead – although no deal has been struck yet.
Ms Bradley said she still hoped to be up-and-running in the city by 2014.
She said: “We were more than a little disappointed that things didn’t work out at the School Yard, but there was too much uncertainty over timings and insurmountable contractual obstacles so the board ask me to review our strategy.
“Following a number of discussions with Neil Edginton from EDG Property, we arrived at the decision that we part company on good terms, thus freeing up the space for another occupier for this highly sought after development.
“As you can imagine, we have put a considerable amount of time and energy into this project and to walk away at this stage has not been an easy decision to make.
“Kitchen has evolved significantly since we started work in 2011 and the original business model and overall programme have expanded significantly.
“Nevertheless, we wish the developer and the tenants all the best for their forthcoming opening.
“It’s really great to see one of Birmingham’s magnificent buildings being restored and brought back to life.”
The fallout marks a double blow to the Clock Tower development as Ms Bradley and husband Bob Ghosh, of K4 Architects, were expected to buy the former headmaster’s house on the scheme, and that deal has also fallen through.
It comes at a time when the development, on a prominent site on Harborne’s High Street, was coming to fruition, with first tenant Urban Coffee Company set to open in less than two weeks.
It leaves EDG Property seeking an alternative occupier to provide a community element to the scheme.
Mr Edginton told the Post: “We are obviously really disappointed that Jayne Bradley-Ghosh has decided to pull out of the food school lease, especially so late in the day and after we have committed considerable resource to creating this amazing unit for her start up company.
“We are working hard to re-let this unit and are committed to our original vision of a community food school at The School Yard.
“It’s an exciting ambitious development which we are very proud of. Urban Coffee will be the first operator to open, when it throws its doors to the public on Monday of next week.
“This will be followed shortly by Italian restaurant Prezzo.”
Ms Bradley said nothing had altered in terms of her plans to deliver a community food school and wanted to continue to play a part in “placing the city on the international food map”.