Magna and Rotherham Council look to the future

Published Tuesday, 24th November 2015
Magna Science Adventure Centre
Magna Science Adventure Centre

The Leader of Rotherham Council, in response to recent media speculation, has today confirmed that the Council will be looking to restructure the debt currently owed by Magna.

The proposal will mean no new money for the tourist attraction, but will enable Magna to pay back its current debt over a period of years.

As a result, Magna has security about its immediate future, and the Council’s exposure to the risk of losing public money is minimised.

Currently, Magna has outstanding loans to the Council of £440,000. This is made up of a £190,000 long term loan which is secured against a building and a £250,000 short term loan which has previously had to be renewed annually.

A proposal, to be agreed at the December 9 Full Council meeting, will mean a structured repayment plan on the combined loans over a period of 10 to 15 years, with flexibility around earlier repayments.

Magna is not seeking any additional credit from the Council and the Council is not proposing to make any more available.

The report to be presented to councillors next month will also make recommendations about how Magna’s legal arrangements can be changed in order to allow the trustees more control over Magna’s affairs, and potentially open up new financial opportunities.

Council Leader Cllr Chris Read said: “None of us wants to see Magna close its doors. Such a closure would see as many as eighty people lose their jobs, the Council would inevitably have to write off hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt currently owed by Magna, and in all likelihood we would be left with the costs of maintaining the former industrial site. 

"But – as I have said before – neither can we afford to see more and more public money going into Magna. By working with the trustees to restructure the council’s debts and make repayment manageable, we will keep this popular visitor attraction open and maximise the opportunity for the taxpayer to see the loans returned to the Council.”

John Silker, Chief Executive of the Magna Trust, said: “We believe that Magna has a big future ahead of it, as one of South Yorkshire’s premier tourist attractions and business conference centres. We are excited about the possibilities of the future and that is why we have been working hard to ensure that Magna is on a sound financial footing. With this assurance now in place we can look forward confidently, and look at exploring more commercial opportunities over the coming months.”