Arup give notorious Negrini a platform to peddle her failures

What does someone who oversaw the biggest financial collapse in English local government history do after they trouser their £437,000 golden handshake from the Council Tax-payers of Croydon?

Jo Negrini

Back in the spotlight: Jo Negrini was sharing her expertise again yesterday

Why, they deliver lectures to people who ought to know better, on “Growing a sustainable London”, that’s what.

The Tom Lehrer line was that “Satire is dead” after Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State who ordered the carpet-bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yesterday, at something called the London Real Estate Forum held at the Barbican Centre in the City of London, Croydon Council’s former chief executive Jo Negrini took the barely breathing body of irony and stamped all over it in her kitten heels.

You couldn’t make it up: yesterday’s Real Estate Forum listing

Since her hasty exit from Croydon, where she left the council with £1.5billion in debts, a failed Westfield regeneration scheme in the town centre and a house-building company flop that had borrowed £200million and never made a penny profit, Negrini has been making herself available as a “consultant”.

Arup, the design and construction specialists, have Negrini on their books. They got a good deal of valuable work out of Croydon when Negrini, the self-proclaimed “regeneration practitioner”, was holding the council’s purse strings.

And it was Arup who put together yesterday’s session after lunch in the main hall, with Negrini in charge.

“The session will explore the importance of the growth and opportunity areas along the Thames,” said the blurb for Negrini’s 45 minutes in the spotlight.

“How do these areas support the growth of London? How are their programmes developing in respect to sustainability and net zero? What are the challenges and successes of the public and private sectors in response to these opportunities?”

Oh, how the people of Croydon will laugh!

Might anyone in the audience at such a session have asked the chair what happened to the £1.4billion Westfield project that was supposed to have been built in her old borough?

£1,200 per ticket: did anyone at the Real Estate Forum ask Negrini about her own track record?

Or how Negrini’s brainchild, housing developer Brick by Brick, was going?

Perhaps she could advise on how a £30million refurbishment of a much-admired civic arts centre, the Fairfield Halls, placing arts at the centre of regeneration, could end up costing £67million and still fail to deliver the required upgrades?

And how about the Meals on Wheels deliveries and dozens of other public services and people’s jobs that have had to be cut since she spun out of the doors at Fisher’s Folly?

If only the people attending the London Real Estate Forum – tickets £995 plus VAT for the full package of conference and tours – had access to the contents of the long-suppressed Penn Report, then they might have a better grasp of the real areas of expertise of Jo Negrini.

Read more: Negrini and execs ‘failed to ensure council was acting lawfully’
Read more: Satire is dead: Brick by Brick and ‘the power of social housing’
Read more: The bottom line on the failure of ex-CEO Negrini: £613,895

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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6 Responses to Arup give notorious Negrini a platform to peddle her failures

  1. Like you say, oh the irony. But your younger readers won’t recognise Henry Kissinger or Tom Lehrer; they’re more likely to remember the more recent Peace Prize joke – Barack Obama who was responsible for countless drone assassinations of innocent people

  2. Rick H says:

    What next? Harold Shipman lecturing on patient care? Henry VIII on gender equality? Heather Cheesborough on sensible housing development?

  3. Kevin Croucher says:

    But she is a Hon FRIBA. She must be qualified to speak.

  4. Kevin Croucher says:

    It is not just Negrini who is popping up again. I found this on Linkedin

    Colm Lacey is an independent housing, development and regeneration expert with a particular specialism in delivering collaborative public housing programmes and successfully embedding progressive design principles.

    Prior to setting up Soft Cities, he was Founding Managing Director and CEO of Brick by Brick, a multi-award winning development company and architecture practice based in South London. After establishing the company from scratch in 2016, he grew it to become a national leader in council-led development, with an unwavering focus on high-quality design and affordability. Brick By Brick now has an annual turnover of c£100m and has developed around 800 multi-tenure homes across multiple small sites in Croydon, helping to address local housing need and permanently influence the quality of the wider urban environment.

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