Scottish Women’s mental health charity in property dispute with Tesco

30 Jun 2021 News

The nursery at Saheliya charity.

Scottish Women’s mental health charity, Saheliya, is in a dispute with Tesco over the lease of its building. 

Saheliya has said that after it asked for a lease extension on the Tesco-owned building, the organisation said it could purchase it. The charity claims Tesco then rejected its offer after the money had already been raised.

The charity has a base at St Rollox House, a building in Glasgow, and currently has a ten-year lease with Tesco.

The lease started in December 2014 and there are therefore more than three years left on the current lease.

Charity met the original asking price

Saheliya, a specialist grassroots mental health organisation established by and for black, minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeker women, said it was told it could purchase the building and adjacent land. 

It claims the valuation of the premises was £205,000, and Tesco asked for £305,000. On further valuation, the property was valued at £285,000. 

In a statement, the charity said it developed architect plans with heritage funding and secured the finances to be able to offer £305,000. 

It states: “We let Tesco know that we had secured the funding, and were advised on the phone that they now wanted £350,000. 

“We submitted an offer of £305,000 – a sum £20,000 over the valuation -  explaining the impossibility of ever being able to afford £350,000 and included the extensive architect’s plans. 

“We explained the importance of the premises for marginalised women surviving violence and for the development of our childcare services, which are an important local resource which employs ex-service users. 

“After repeatedly asking for a response, we eventually received a one-line email advising that Tesco will not be selling the premises to us.”

Shruti Jain, chair of Saheliya, said: “We have been frustrated in our communications with Tesco over the years, and their final decision not to sell us the building has shocked and deeply saddened us.

“We are asking for Tesco to reconsider either by agreeing to their original offer of £305,000 or to extend the lease to 75 plus years so that we can continue to help some of the most vulnerable women and children in our society rebuild their lives, and create much-needed jobs.”

Tesco: Leased at a reduced rate

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We recognise that Saheliya provide important services for the community and we have worked with them for a number of years to lease the property to them at a reduced rate. The current lease runs until at least December 2024 and we are unfortunately not currently in a position to make any long-term decisions on St Rollox House.”

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