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Our Aims

:: Stop any sale of a long leasehold interest of the Palace that's not for charitable purposes. The 1900 Alexandra Park and Palace Act provided that both Palace and park be held on trust "for the free use and recreation of the public for ever"

:: Safeguard the studios and the mast which pioneered the world's first high-definition television broadcasts and preserve the outline of the original studios A and B. Preserve and maintain the Palace's Victorian theatre and famous Willis organ. Protect public access to all of these and promote them as visitor attractions.

:: Reconstitute AP's trustees back to representatives of the whole of London and of the nation, capable of and interested in maintaining the Palace and Park for public use under its trusts (e.g. north London boroughs, The GLA, English Heritage, BBC, The Arts Council; individuals who have experience in community, heritage and educational areas.

The Palace is a unique national public asset and should be cherished as such.

 

Selling the Palace
 
Related Documents

As far as we are aware there are other transaction documents and plans which are still shrouded in secrecy. An Appeal is to be made.

Were Haringey and the CC right to refuse the release of the full agreement? Does the public have the right to know the exact term and contract of the sale of a public asset, their asset?  This is a vital question the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) had to grapple with and rule over, in a recent Decision Notice. In February 2007 The Information Commissioner published its Decision Notice on a very similar case. Surprisingly or maybe not, the case involved the same company - Firoka and its dealing with another local authority, who were flogging yet another public asset to Firoka - the private investor.

As in our case, questions were asked of the local authority involved; the local press made a FoI request asking for the full agreement, but it too resulted in a similar reason for refusal; the local authority citing their obligation under law to commercial confidentiality. The local paper, dissatisfied with this result, complained to The Information Commissioner, which ruled in their favour. It ordered the council to supply the agreement and the valuations pertaining to the sale within 35 calendar days. Failure to comply, it warned, may be dealt with as a contempt of court. The case above, revolved around Oxford City Council sale of land to Firoka, upon which the football stadium and the Ozone are nowbuilt.

Read it yourself
The Information Commissioner Decision Notice 01.02.07 pdf40kb

More information about Firoka vs Oxford is outlined in the following Evening Standard article - From slum landlord to Mr Ally Pally
by Keith Dovkantse Evening Standard 2.2.06

Who is The Information Commissioner and what is its role? "The Information Commissioner’s duty is to decide whether a request for information made to a public authority has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’)."

Click here to visit ICO web site

Click here to find out how to Complain about Freedom of Information

Charity Commission order 522431 - Alexandra Park and Palace
pdf 16kb

Winning Bidder
From slum landlord to Mr Ally Pally
by Keith Dovkantse
Evening Standard (London) 2.2.06
Related Links

Information on how to Appeal CC decision: Her Majesty's Courts Service

Alternative Proposals

The People's Palace pdf 6.2mb

“Early BBC engineers helped to make a big idea work at Alexandra Palace in 1936. It would be fitting, nearly 70 years on, if we could help bring the industry behind another big idea that underlines the continuing role of the British media as a standard-setter for broadcasters everywhere.”

Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General

Why a sale?

After Haringey Council, a single, impoverished council, voluntarily, and recklessly, rushed into taking on responsibility for trusteeship of the Palace from the London-wide GLC, in 1980, there was a fire. Some of the interior was destroyed although all the eastern parts were saved.

Front cover of palace sale marketing packet

Front cover of Palace Sale Marketing Pack.

 

Insurance helped the Palace to be rebuilt but those responsible allowed the finances to become completely out of control. Eventually the Great Hall and Palm Court were rebuilt, and a new West Hall constructed, but the project was £30m over budget. Haringey officers said that the charity funds must pay for this and the Palace be privatised and sold but the Charity Commission said no: the overspending was completely unauthorized and the charity’s funds could not be charged for it. In 1991 the Attorney-General dramatically intervened on behalf of the beneficiaries of the charity (the public).

“The Council’s proposals for the future use of Alexandra Park and Palace have been prepared and put forward on the basis that the Charity is carrying a debt [to Haringey Council] of some 30m ...The Attorney-General does not believe that it is possible for the Council as Trustee to make a proper and informed decision about the long-term future of the Park and Palace without knowing the approximate amount ..for which the Charity is [actually] liable.”

However, Haringey refused to accept this ruling (although they could not proceed with the commercial development).  As they were themselves trustee, they simply paid themselves interest of up to 1m a year out of the rebuilt Palace’s funds, sending the yearly accounts into the red – and adding this to the amount they said was owed by the Palace! And they continued to plan for a sale of the whole Palace, hoping eventually that everyone would forget the A-G’s ruling, and appointing the very council middle manager, to whom they had given the job of project-managing the sale, Keith Holder, as General Manager! The Palace was run as inefficiently as they dared, and the associated charities within gradually winkled out, ready for a sale with vacant possession to a developer.

By political pressure, they managed to change the Acts of Parliament governing the Palace and Park and tried to stop the Palace accounts being independently audited. But the Minister responsible promised Parliament Ally pally 20p stamp

that the change would not allow commercial development of the Palace. It seems the management of the Palace and their legal advisers always intended to break this promise, and they now have.

 

Alexandra Palace Stamp World Exhibition
London 1990

 

 

 

How to flog a Palace for Peanuts
A quick guide

  • Make sure it ends up with a single local authority, which is also incompetent.
  • Never make any meaningful investments into the asset
  • Never try to find business partners who might make it a success
  • Make sure it falls into disrepair and runs a large deficit by employing incompetent management while paying them extortionate wages over a long time.
  • While you are at it, make sure that all the discussions and decisions within this regard ARE SECRET, so no one could challenge your decisions, including trustees on the board of the charitable trust, who might have a conscience and object to your plans.
  • Run a continuous propaganda campaign telling the public that the high council tax you are charging them, is a result of money draining into the Palace black hole. This will ensure the public support for your plan to flog the asset.
  • Of course you should have no intention of reducing the council tax once the deal is done, as you might need the extra funds to pay other incompetent officers to run the next thing you want to flog.
  • When you reach a point of no return neglecting the asset for years, try and flog it for peanuts
  • If you are unsuccessful in leasing the national heritage white Ally-Phanty for only 22 years, as you are permitted by law: –
  • Get Parliament to change the law so you could flog it off with 125 years lease.
  • Once this is done give an early warning to your preferred bidder especially if they promise to retain your job and excellent pay.
  • Do nothing for a while, wait till your preferred bidder is well and truly ready with their bid.
  • Now the time is right to advertise your ‘flog it plan’, so that you are seen to fulfil your legal obligation.
  • Make sure no expense is spared on advertising it. Hire a top agency to design and produce an expensive media pack and an ‘unheard of’ advertising campaign. This will ensure no one will ever ask you to repeat the exercise or complain you did not make the appropriate effort in attracting investment. You will be able to rush it through with no effective opposition.
  • Make sure the time line for submitting bids is as short as possible, so no other bidders have any realistic chance to come up with any alternative offers of how to spend £50 mil of their money.
  • If you are unfortunate and such a bidder suddenly materialises, choose presentation dates they can’t make, and never change your mind about it or show any flexibility in the matter.
  • Ensuring there is only one valid bid on the table, will allow you to defend flogging the palace for peanuts, without any conditions to safeguard the future of any of the historic parts of the place. (Home to the world first TV broadcast and BBC TV studio. Also home to the finest concert Pipe Organ in Europe)
  • Since the deal will have to be approved by the Charity Commission before the contract is signed and sealed and since the Commission will have to consult the public, make sure the contract and its terms are a guarded secret! So no one could ever be able to make any valid comments based on facts.
  • Hold your breath and hope no-one notices. Et voila, your Palace is Flogged for Peanuts!
 
 
 

 

 

 

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