Tesco accused of ramping up price of charity's headquarters

The refugee charity Saheliya says the retailer offered the charity the chance to buy the building it uses as its headquarters for £305,000 before increasing the price to £350,000

(Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
(Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The retailer Tesco has been accused of increasing the asking price for a refugee charity’s headquarters by almost £50,000 before deciding not to sell. 

The charity Saheliya, which supports black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker and refugee women and girls, originally asked the supermarket for an extension on its 10-year lease on the property at St Rollox House in Springburn, Glasgow.

The charity, which offers counselling, plus support and outreach work to more than 1,300 women a year, said the retailer responded by offering the charity the opportunity to buy the premises for £305,000. 

The charity said the price was above the property’s valuation, but it developed plans with an architect and worked hard to raise the requested amount. 

The charity said: “Tesco then advised us that they wanted £350,000. 

“We submitted an offer of £305,000 explaining the impossibility of ever being able to afford £350,000. 

“We provided extensive architectural plans, explained the importance of the building for our services for marginalised women surviving violence and for the development of our childcare services, which are an important local resource and employ 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.”

The charity is calling on the supermarket chain to agree to its original offer of £305,000 or provide it with a lease of at least 75 years so it could make long-term plans to support its work. 

Tesco said it did not believe the valuation provided to the charity was accurate and that it had worked with the organisation to explain why it did not reflect the true market value.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We recognise that Saheliya provides important services for the community and we have worked with it for a number of years to lease the property to it 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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