Alexandra Palace needs independent chairman to chart future
Cllr Matt Cooke, Chair of the Alexandra Palace Board, fails to mention the multiple failures of Labour Haringey that have led to Firoka s withdrawal (Tycoon reveals why he pulled out of Ally Pally, H&H Broadway August 28). Haringey s plan of disposal-at-a
Cllr Matt Cooke, Chair of the Alexandra Palace Board, fails to mention the multiple failures of Labour Haringey that have led to Firoka's withdrawal (Tycoon reveals why he pulled out of Ally Pally, H&H Broadway August 28).
Haringey's plan of disposal-at-any-price has been run unchecked for 12 years. As 'preferred trading partners' came and went, the constant threat of closure frightened off potential hirers. There was no sustained effort or desire to develop new business; in fact, the continuing losses were needed to convince the Charity Commission that disposal was the only option.
We may eventually know the total costs of so many years of failing business, endless expensive consultants, lawyers, and PR companies. The recent costs of the licence - which gave Firoka the operating profits but left Haringey taxpayers to foot the running costs - run into several millions alone.
Although Cllr Cooke has strenuously denied it, we contacted the Charity Commission and discovered that, far from there being 'no investigation', they currently have two members of staff examining this licence.
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This is just one fragment of the whole, expensive, failure. We shall be asking for a comprehensive investigation into the costs to Haringey tax-payers, tighter cost controls, a broadening of the membership of the Board, and the appointment of a wholly independent chairman
Alexandra Palace is not just any old building for Haringey to squander and mismanage, but a remarkable, historic, and moreover useful one that should be a source of enormous pride and enjoyment for Haringey and London.
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It is not for Cllr Cooke just to arrive with the next set of ideas, which Labour members then vote through, but for councillors and non-elected Board members alike to engage in a thorough debate backed by proper analysis and advice.
The trading arm of Alexandra Palace could be a solid business that can not only recover, but expand. What the Palace needs is stability, the opportunity to draw up the right projects and - when the time is right - to attract the partners who can help us achieve them.
(Members of the APP Board)