Newman fails to deny that Fairfield Halls bill has reached £60m

The refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls could end up costing Croydon’s Council Tax-payers £60million – or even more.

More than a year late, unfinished and incomplete, now it looks as if the Fairfield Halls refurb cost £60m-plus

And there are fears within the town’s arts circles that BH Live, the events and management firm brought in by venue owners Croydon Council to run the centre, could even quit their agreement over their increasing dissatisfaction with the quality of the refurbishment work and finish.

The soaring costs were the shock revelation of last night’s meeting of the full council in the Town Hall chamber, where the Labour council leader Tony Newman – in a performance which was perhaps the very definition of kakistocracy – was unable to deny that the refurbishment on the Fairfield Halls had managed to reach double the original £30million budget for the works.

The Fairfield Halls arts centre was closed in June 2016 for what was supposed to be a two-year, £30million refurbishment project. A council report, presented in November 2016, listed three “lead officers” (most projects have but one council executive in charge), including the council’s £220,000 per year chief executive, Jo “We’re Not Stupid” Negrini.

To manage the project, the council put its in-house house-builders Brick by Brick in charge, a company with no track record in building homes, never mind extensive and complicated refurbishment projects on heritage buildings. It is a decision which could be costing Croydon residents for decades to come. Continue reading

Posted in Ashcroft Theatre, BH Live, Croydon Council, Fairfield Halls, Jo Negrini, Paula Murray, Tim Pollard, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Croydon Tories in call for public inquiry into Brick by Brick

Croydon Tories have appealed to a government minister to hold an urgent inquiry into the running of Brick by Brick, the council’s in-house house-builders.

Lynne Hale: worried about Brick by Brick

The call was made public at last night’s meeting of the full council by Tim Pollard, the leader of the Town Hall’s opposition Conservative group, and Lynne Hale, their housing spokesperson.

It comes following mounting concerns about the nature of the loss-making firm, which is wholly owned by Croydon Council and which has managed to build just three council flats in five years.

Despite receiving more than £260million in loans from the council, Brick by Brick is now unable to sell properties under shared ownership schemes because, as was exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon, no one at the company bothered to get registered as an approved supplier, as is routinely required by the major mortgage firms and lenders. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Butler, Brick by Brick, Chris Philp MP, Colm Lacey, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Jo Negrini, Lynne Hale, Planning, Sanderstead, Tim Pollard | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Talk: The Royal Ritual of Death, Upper Norwood, Feb 10

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Negrini’s legacy on housing is also costing Newham millions

Loss-making Brick by Brick failing to meet its targets for delivering affordable housing. Surprised, you say?

There’s no reason to be surprised, because it was entirely predictable, and across London, in Newham, a very similar in-house house-building scheme is also failing to deliver the kind of housing that the local politicians solemnly promised that it would.

It was being reported last month that Newham Council had admitted that its housing company will not meet the 50 per cent affordable target set by mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (yes, they have an independently elected mayor…) in its next round of development. Continue reading

Posted in Brick by Brick, Croydon Council, Housing, Jo Negrini, London-wide issues, Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Threat of bus strike as 1 in 3 drivers in ‘close call’ due to fatigue

More than three years since the Croydon tram crash saw ‘driver fatigue’ raised as a possible cause of the disaster, now bus drivers are threatening strike action over concerns for the safety of their passengers and themselves. RORY KELLY reports

London Bus drivers may go on strike due to the “chronic fatigue” some are suffering under demanding work schedules.

Drivers’ union Unite are to ballot their 20,000 members for a possible strike to highlight the growing concerns, while calling for better breaks and ensuring that drivers finish their shifts on time. Continue reading

Posted in Sandilands derailment, TfL, Transport | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Come And Sing with Downland Chorale, Sanderstead, Feb 15

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The Great NHS Heist, plus Q&A, Ruskin House, Feb 13

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