Challenge from Ally Pally chairman: get on board or quit

Firstly, I want to be very clear that I am writing this letter as a resident of Haringey and someone who cares passionately about Alexandra Palace, in response to the misleading and politically motivated letter regarding the palace by members of the Trust

Firstly, I want to be very clear that I am writing this letter as a resident of Haringey and someone who cares passionately about Alexandra Palace, in response to the misleading and politically motivated letter regarding the palace by members of the Trust Board (Ally Pally needs independent chairman to pave the way ahead, H&H Broadway letters September 4).

I have said repeatedly that we need reform of the AP trust. Partly this is because the palace is all too often used as a political football, as the letter from the trustees clearly demonstrates. As a trust, this body must do what's best to ensure the palace succeeds and the next few months provide a fantastic opportunity to do that.

I have said I will bring forward ideas about how the trust can learn from what has happened in recent years in order to assess what's best for its future. Part of that must involve a complete review of the palace's governance and I commissioned the first pieces of work on this several months ago, which I hope will complement our discussions in the coming weeks.

This process also has to reflect and include local people's aspirations for the palace as well as opinions from experts from all over London and beyond.


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So in the future the trust must look at having independent members on its board and the other committees of the trust, some of which I hope will be experts in their fields. Councillors will always play a part and we should explore all options for the future of the palace - the board must not be afraid of ideas and change.

When the board next meets I will be suggesting it develops a route map of how the next few months might look and how it might take new steps forward.

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There will be no place for party politics in that, and therefore I challenge any member of the board who feels unable to participate in making decisions not solely in the interests of the palace to step down with immediate effect.

It is disappointing and short-sighted when trustees who have voted in unanimity with the rest of the board on which they sit, write to the press distancing themselves from those same decisions.

It is poor practice as charity trustees, but it is also damaging for the organisation which they are entrusted to safeguard. The residents of Haringey and local people are cleverer than that and in my opinion they deserve much better from members of the trust.

The letters of recent weeks also inferred that there was a feeling amongst some that Ally Pally is 'just some old building' - I certainly don't feel that way. The palace is a magnificent asset to Haringey, riven with history and bursting with as-yet-unrealised potential. It is cherished by local residents, as anyone who lives locally can testify.

I'm genuinely excited about the next few months because, at last, the trust has a chance to exceed people's expectations about what the palace can be.

Matt Cooke

Palmerston Road

Bounds Green, N22

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