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Minister quizzed on Sefton Group

Economic Development Minister John Shimmin says he understands the concern of MHKs over the Sefton deal - and admits it was not an easy decision to make.

Mr Shimmin was speaking in the House of Keys today, in response to a question from Onchan MHK David Quirk who wanted to know what the terms of the leaseback of the Middlemarch site to the Sefton group were.

He said in theory the government could have just bought the site rather than entering into the far more complex leaseback arrangement.

However, he said the future prospect for the area was very much an expanded leisure and hotel facility, which would only be done in the private sector,

He added the Sefton Group had the rights on this and were ambitious to develop it.

Mr Shimmin said the decision was a gamble, but shareholders and investors in the group had to be able to see there was a way of trading out of their difficulties and making a profitable return:

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