Council sells Addington Palace but fails to say for how much

The Labour Council was elected in May on a platform that promised greater transparency and accountability from our Town Hall.

Addington Palace: Croydon Council has sold this handsome piece of real estate. The matter was never debated, and the council isn't saying what the sale price was

Addington Palace Golf Club: Croydon Council has sold this handsome piece of real estate. The matter was never debated, and the council isn’t saying what the sale price was

Those good intentions didn’t last long. A report to tonight’s council cabinet of 10 leading councillors shows what just one of them, Simon Hall, the cabinet member for finance, is entitled to do on his own on behalf of Croydon’s 340,000 residents.

In what is a very brief report, accompanied by a terse background document, it is announced that Hall has disposed of Addington Palace Golf Club. But the key detail, at what price, is withheld, although we are informed that this prestigious piece of real estate has been leased for 999 years. So Ronnie Corbett and his fellow club members can continue to play golf there at least until the year 3013.

The cabinet papers can be seen in pdf format here Finance report to cabinet, and the detail-lite “background” report here Addington Palace sale – background

In the other paperwork ahead of tonight’s meeting, we learn that for clerking, public relations and communications for Labour’s controversial Fairness Commission, Hall’s dishing out £130,700. That’s a nice little earner…

We also learn that Hall has authorised the spending of almost £1 million on extending the coach and minibus contracts for children with special educational needs. Given the controversies and mishandled procurements of these contracts over the last five years, requiring investigations by the district auditor and Private Eye magazine, this matter is dashed off in the report with an amazing lack of transparency.

And then there is £26,700,000 spent just on a strategy to procure transport services.

Yes, £26.7 million.

This is being done with all the transparency of a Mike “#WadGate” Fisher allowances claim. This type of council governance stinks.

It places a huge amount of pressure on a single cabinet member, involving massive public spending but through what has developed into an inadequate process for reporting. Labour has abolished the previous committee of councillors which considered more detailed information on contracts, and so has concentrated power in the hands of Hall and just a few senior council staff, headed by Nathan Elvery.

Of course, the entrepreneurial Elvery was installed by Labour in the position of council chief executive despite the £180,000 per year job never being advertised, and without even a minute’s debate of the appointment at the council.

Given his pivotal part in previous procurement controversies over the borough’s bungled SEN transport contracts, it is emerging that spending public money with only lip-service paid to accountability must be the way the increasingly powerful Elvery prefers things.

Coming to Croydon

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6 Responses to Council sells Addington Palace but fails to say for how much

  1. Mary Wolf says:

    Was Addington Palace not already on a VERY long lease?

  2. Mary Wolf says:

    Sorry, I’ve just read the background document – I was thinking of the lease for Addington Palace & grounds, which is, clearly, separate.

  3. ruths57 says:

    There seems to be some confusion – there are 2 golf courses: The Addington golf club where Ronnie Corbett is purported to play, and Addington Palace Golf Club. Then in addition a listed building called Addington Palace which is used for functions eg weddings . They are all seperate entities. So which one do you mean? The photo shows Addington Palace and part of addington palace golf club!

    • No confusion at all.

      There are four courses, if you also include the two public courses at Addington Court.

      But, as the article states, the sale is of the Addington Palace golf course. Corbett’s former home used to back on to the 8th tee, hence the reference; he was also a member of the Addington, and regularly played both. The Addington has never been owned by Croydon Council.

      The building at Addington Palace is indeed subject to a separate set of covenants, but as it also provides the golf club’s facilitiees, we feel it is entirely appropriate to include it in an image for illustrative purposes.

  4. Amazing what happens when people get into power….all trace of sense and sensibility seems to dissipate and to be replaced with arrogance and a feeling of omnipotence and omnicompetence.

    The new (ish) Labour administration seems to be doing their best to mimic, and occasionally outdo, the outgoing (sorry, outgone) Tories and also seem to have forgotten that national elections are won on local battlefields.

    How people feel about their local councils and councillors is usually reflected in the way they vote nationally. What a shame the Tories could not have stayed in just a little longer. Their arrogance and neglect would have ensured a Labour victory nationally. Now the local Labour Party seems to be doing just the same!

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