Friday, February 09, 2007

The Great Sell-Off

Islington has been afire with the news of the Council's plans to sell two hundred of its freeholds to finance its spending on schools, regeneration and home building programmes, a portfolio said to be worth about £45 million.

We have been covering this story on our main website since the first news broke. Our Nick Canty attended the explosive South Area Meeting on Monday night- his report is soon to be posted. Traders on Amwell Street have taken out a full page advertisement in today's Islington Tribune, warning that a wholescale sell-off will result in increased rents, breakdown of communities, and the loss of shops and services.

Meanwhile, the Council has been blasted for its £5 million bill for external consultants last year, a 150% increase from 2001. Islington is one of the biggest spenders on schools in the country but remains one of the worst-performing boroughs for education in the UK - last week, it was revealed that 96% of children at the Clerkenwell Parochial C of E school failed to meet the Government's writing targets. Homes for Islington is hitting leaseholders with bills of up to £41,000 for what is claimed to be years of underinvestment in our estates. So is this the real reason why they want to sell off these properties?

In any case, please help our neighbours and local businessmen in their efforts to buy these freeholds, remembering the great Conservative tradition of supporting communities by giving council tenants the right to buy their properties instead of selling to faceless developers. Here's what you can do:

  • Write to your local councillor and to the local newspapers.

  • Attend your local area meeting:
    • North Area Committee Meeting: February 13, 7.30pm, Archway Campus
    • East Area Committee: February 13, 7.30pm, Resources Centre, 356 Holloway Road

Please use the comments section to let us know your thoughts and experiences about this sell-off!


Newmania said...

Well well this is awfully well researched I must say. Frankly I don`t see why traders should be supported by tax payers (in effect) so I think you have entirely the wrong end of the stick here.Also on Education there have been great gains since the Hodge debacle , albeit from a very low starting point . It is highly misleading to say that schools are underperforming in Islignton with out taking the social breakdown of the Borough into account.Were a Lib Coucillor to pick this up they would have a field day with the figures to hand.I am delighted to see the Coucil selling off property and I wish they would sell of alot more of it including about half the housing . Preferably this would achieved by a rent to Mortgage scheme as suggested by the saintly David Cameron

It would be more true to say that the gains made are less than we nmight have hoped but the Libs certainly count this as a success.
The truth is that many of the proble,ms afflicting Islington stem from national policy. James Kemptom has said that he is in favour of the chied error which is to reinstate the Colucil housing stock to pre sell of levels . this combined with the surcharging is slowly undoing the good Maggies polcies undoubtedly did .

Carp carp carp...good inf though and well put together.Most impressive

Newmania said...

BTW when youi are wondering why the Coucil, are selling off propertioes a good place to start is the amount of debt they are in which is exceedingly difficult to worl out

Duncan Webster said...

I dont think that any readers of this blog have an issue with Councils divesting themselves of non-core activities. It can be argued that property management is not an essential role that the council has to play.

However the issue is the non-transparent way it is being dealt with, jeopardising the traders in Islington we all rely on. How can a shopkeeper plan his business if he doesnt know how much rent he will pay, if the tenancy will be renewed etc?