But Ronald McDonald has registered a presence recently in Croydon Council’s £144 million headquarters building.
Desperate to rake back some of the cost of the over-priced office block, the council has been renting out Bernard Weatherill House, as it is sometimes known, as a filming location.
In the past month, the council offices have been used at least twice, over two separate weekends.
Commercial properties in London can expect to charge £1,500 per day when being used as a set for television advertisements. That’s not to be sniffed at, but to put it in some context, that’s barely enough to cover council leader Tony Newman’s allowances for one week.
Built on the instructions of the previous Tory council leader, Mike Fisher, Fisher’s Folly, which opened in October 2013, is reckoned to be the country’s most expensive local authority office block, estimated as having cost Croydon’s ratepayers about £100 million more than similar-sized office builds around the capital. Fisher’s Folly works out as being more expensive to build per square metre than The Shard.
The film units have used the Croydon offices for around four days recently. At this rate, our enterprising council might manage to make up the total cost of the building with another 66,000 days of location shoots – or a mere matter of 180 years.
Given the Labour-run administration’s desire to run an ethical council, rightly divesting itself of its pension fund’s investments in arms companies and tobacco stocks, allowing the offices to be used for an ad for fast food merchants McDonald’s might be seen as a tad hypocritical.
It was only in 2013 that Croydon Council chosen to designate itself as a “Heart Town”, part of the British Heart Foundation campaign for healthier lifestyles, including eating healthier food to help tackle heart disease. Heart and circulatory diseases are responsible for around one-third of deaths in Croydon, the council informed us at the time of that initiative.
But now, for just a couple of grand, they’re helping Ronald McDonald flog a few more burgers. So, this thing about our council being run by clowns…
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