Britain’s best-selling satirical fortnightly returns to Croydon’s financial woes – and says police should be called in to investigate deals around unfinished arts centre refurbishment
While some citizen bloggers claim to try “to emulate Private Eye”, the professional journalists here at Inside Croydon Towers regularly see their hard work followed up by the minions working for Lord Gnome.
So it is in the latest edition of Gnome’s fine organ, when their veteran arts correspondent, Lunchtime O’Boulez, played catch-up with our agenda-setting coverage of what The Stage has only recently come to realise is “the £70million fiasco” of the Fairfield Halls refurbishment.
“Things disappear at an alarming rate in Croydon,” O’Boulez notes, referring to the as-yet-unpublished “value-for-money review” from Grant Thornton into the Fairfield Halls refurbishment, which insiders at the council’s auditors suggest might finally see the light of day in September, nearly six months later than had been promised.
Senior figures at Grant Thornton have suggested that one of the things that they expected to discover as they delved into the murkily opaque financial arrangements between Croydon Council, Brick by Brick, its hapless loss-making house-builder, and various contractors could be the very serious matter of “illegal payments”. Certainly, Grant Thornton has been racking up hefty bills fromlawyers who have been checking over their findings, according to sources at the council.
Which might explain the suggestion in the Eye’s latest “Music & Musicians” column: “It’s time for an investigation from a firmer hand – say the one on the end of the long arm of the law.”
It is not the first time that the Eye has suggested that intervention is overdue from what they like to call “Inspector Knacker of the Yard” into matters centred on Fisher’s Folly and Croydon Town Hall.
But so far, there has been not a sniff of interest from the Boys in Blue, even with the discredited former leader of the council, Tony Newman, and his finance henchman, Simon Hall, still on “administrative suspension” from the Labour Party as a result of findings from a previous review of council affairs, conducted by the Local Government Association.
Perhaps the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, should ask the Metropolitan Police why that is?
Croydon is London’s Borough of Culture in 2023.
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments
Read more: £30m Fairfield Halls project never went to competitive tender
Read more: BHLive starts redundancy process for staff at Fairfield Halls
- You can support Inside Croydon’s news-breaking independent local journalism. Sign up today as a subscriber. Click here
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
- Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors