Alexandra Palace: Labour loses even more money

Alexandra PalaceHaringey Lib Dem council group leader Neil Williams tells me that he is increasingly worried about council tax payers being taken to the cleaners by the current goings on at Alexandra Palace.

As ever with Ally Pally, it’s a complicated story – and one to which neither Haringey Council, nor the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (also, alas, a Labour councillor) will give full and frank answers, but it goes like this.

When the Trust (and for this we must sadly read Haringey Labour in practice) thought they had a ‘done deal’ with their chosen developer (Firoz Kassam and Firoka), they (the developer that is) were allowed to start trading in the building, to get their feet under the carpet, as it were. It’s a bit like thinking you had sold your house, and then giving the potential future owners the keys before the deal was signed.

However, the deal on the lease was thrown out by the High Court – as the Charity Commission was found to have failed to consult the public properly on their plans for the Palace. The whole process now has to be done again. This could take months, if it happens at all.

In the meantime, as the Trust had no ‘plan B’ to cope with this cock-up, Firoka is now running the trading business at the Pally – and pretty much pocketing the profits coming in, from events and exhibitions, and so on.

Previously, some pretty tidy contributions from trading have always been used to bring down the cost of the Palace to the Haringey taxpayer, possibly up to about £2 million a year – but this pot of money is now essentially in the hands of Firoka, who show no visible signs of passing it on.

Haringey Council describes this situation as “unfortunate” and blames the Save Ally Pally campaign as well as the Lib Dems – i.e. anyone other than themselves, even though it was they who came up with the flawed sell off and they who let Firoka in to start earning money before the deal was finalised. Indeed, they have employed blue-chip PR advisers, Lexington Communications, who are helping them say so – all being paid for by the Haringey taxpayer, just to rub salt into the financial wounds of this all.

Not good!

0 thoughts on “Alexandra Palace: Labour loses even more money

  1. There are clear inconsistencies in your commentary regarding the present situation at Alexandra Palace. “It’s a bit like thinking you had sold your house, and then giving the potential future owners the keys before the deal was signed.”Are you suggesting that the keys have already been given to Firoka Group in order to begin profiting from business dealings at Alexandra Palace? This puts the consultation process in jeopardy and public representation will be pointless at this stage. Do you not accept this assessment of this situation. “However, the deal on the lease was thrown out by the High Court – as the Charity Commission was found to have failed to consult the public properly on their plans for the Palace. The whole process now has to be done again. This could take months, if it happens at all.”If the lease was refused by the High Court on the grounds that the Charity Commission were found to have, as you put it, failed to consult the public properly on their plans for the palace. And then you argue that this process will have to be done again, and as you suggest, will take months. Firstly, what is the point of this new consultation, if the keys have already been handed over to Firoka group? “In the meantime, as the Trust had no ‘plan B’ to cope with this cock-up, Firoka is now running the trading business at the Pally – and pretty much pocketing the profits coming in, from events and exhibitions, and so on.”Now your piece suggests that Firoka is benefiting from events and exhibitions held at Alexandra Palace, despite the High Court ruling and lack of public consultation. Perhaps you can clarify this part of your article.What exactly would be the purpose of a public consultation at this late stage when Firoka has clearly taken full responsibility for Alexandra Palace?Thank youMash

  2. Mash:Your comments suggest that since Firoka bosses occupy the Palace, there’s no need for a Lease. One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to work out that this is not lawful and unsustainable, to put it mildly. Perhaps you are unaware that the Council is desperate to the Lease past the Charity Commission and another so-called Consultation. This is the law because, AP is a charity.The present situation is hard to understand and its arisen from extreme gross incompetence. There is nothing inconsistent in Lyne Featherstone’s comments but as she says, its a complicated story and difficult to summarise briefly for the benefit of someone unfamiliar with the scandal.The Council has been misleading on almost every aspect of its regretable stewardship of Alexandra Palace, no more so than over its accounts. Haringey are incompetent managers and yet the operational side has been modestly profitable over the last ten years. This is contrary to the impression given by the Council.A ten-year analyis by an independent accountant of the published AP accounts may be seen at:http://saveallypally.com/accounts.htmlThis same website contains a great deal of background information to the current situation, useful for anyone who wishes to familiarize themselves with the People’s Palace.SOS: Save our Studios! Be proud of having the World’s First TV Studios! First TV Broadcast! First TV mast!saveallypally.comLet’s make it the biggest tourist attraction in North London!World’sFirstTVStudios

  3. Hello WorldsFirstTVStudio, Thank you for your message. You have miscontrued my message, which I though required clarification. Of course, there is a need for a lease. My concern is that if Firoka is already operating and earning from business dealings at Alexandra Palace, what is the primary purpose of another consultation? Maybe you can help answer that.The Liberal Democrats are not opposes to Firoka taking over, they are concerned with the lack of public consultation. I as a resident am too.

  4. Where is Cllr George Meehan ? why is he hiding .He was responsible at the time of Victoria Clambie and he hid away that time.His council salary is £50000 per year alot of tax payers money for a coward who will not take hresponsibility.Liz Sangtry showed up only for the fact she is standing down at the next election.These gutless Labour councillors and their hapless Mp are only interested in saving their miserable politican skins.Can we get rid of this shower at the next election yes we can.Carry Lyne give them hell for the sake of our poor inicent children

  5. Good riddence to Cllr Adje he is the product of a disfunctional Labour Group and Labour Party who are only in it for what they can get.They clearly have no shame as the Discredited Council officer who is the partner of Cllr Stanton is plotting to make a come back as a Cllr displacing poor old Cllr Shake Thompson and Cllr Stanton has made it clear that if his Partner Zena Brabizon is not selected then he will resign the Labour Whip pathetic these Labour Cllrs are only in for their own personal gain.Well Cllr Stanton no party in their right mind should take you or any of your useless bunch,who have done so much damage to the people of Haringey.As a very angry resident of the borough I cannot wait for the Election to vote this useless incomident shower out of office