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grey_man last won the day on December 19 2019

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  1. Spelthorne council’s secret rent deal will cost £4.5m Andrew Ellson | Gareth Davies Friday June 26 2020, 12.00am, The Times A council that has bet more than £1 billion of taxpayers’ cash on commercial property has secretly let a key tenant put off paying millions of pounds in rent because of the coronavirus pandemic. Spelthorne council in Surrey is said to have agreed an 18-month rent deferral with WeWork, the troubled property management company, amounting to a £4.5 million short-term loss for t
  2. I suspect it's already a car crash and some of it would have been a problem without what is happening. The argument that the council has been fond of making - that it's low risk because of the underlying value of the assets - looks increasingly frazzled. For those investments with little or no asset value - Redwood and Together Energy - other questions should be asked and not just by keyboard warriors like me. Councillors should be doing their job. I also wonder when the local media (I'm watching you :)) will report on that story that the council has decided not to go ahead with the £220
  3. And from The Guardian MPs investigate commercial property purchases by councils Parliament’s spending watchdog has launched an inquiry into purchases of commercial property by local authorities, amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic will expose councils to a drop in income from their investments. The public accounts committee will look into whether local government officials have the commercial skills required for such transactions, which have rocketed over the past four years. MPs will also question officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governme
  4. To be fair to the council I think this is why Time Square is the right thing to do. But even that is - at best - going to be harmed by what is happening. Cineworld was already a bit wobbly even before this and I can't see any of the bars and restaurants they may have been in conversations with going unaffected either.
  5. Below, from The Times with a worrying conclusion. Did anybody pick up on the news in the business media that WBC has just shelved plans to spend £220 million on commercial property that was on the market for £200 million? They need to be coming under far more scrutiny from councillors, the government and the media. I suspect that their current investment strategy is now a millstone for the town. Authorities’ big gamble on property deal-making puts locals on shaky ground Martin Shortland spends most of his time working as an IT consultant, but last year the 52-year-old declared wa
  6. What statistics? I know the pilot schemes showed no decrease in injuries so the decision to use them as the basis for a blanket 20 limit was baffling. But what has happened since they were introduced? I'd guess equally no impact otherwise we'd have been told.
  7. From the FT today. Auditor raises alarm at £6.6bn council property spree Fourteen-fold increase in deals as local authorities seek to plug funding gap The UK government’s spending watchdog has raised the alert over local authorities pouring billions of pounds into commercial property at a time when many private investors are shying away from the sector. The National Audit Office found councils had spent £6.6bn on shops and offices between 2017 and 2019, a 14-fold increase compared to the previous three years. Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee, s
  8. People can have lots of reasons for remaining anonymous Geoff, only some of which are malicious. You and I have communicated under my real name and I have no problem doing so in direct interactions. I just don't want to do so on a public forum. Talking of this though, how often do we see the council hiding behind an anonymous 'spokesperson' whenever anything controversial happens or on an issue which has the potential to cause an individual a problem? You'll find councilors and senior officers queuing up to be associated with good things, yet the moment anything goes wrong or needs somebo
  9. 'Billywires' was called out several times on the Guardian forum as somebody with an unhealthy obsession with Helen Jones who might find himself subject to some sort of intervention. This would explain why he no longer posts there or here. This report may make it look mild but the kicker was always his worrying paranoia about who might be Helen Jones or in her team, as can be seen by the posts Gary has clipped under the story. It was unhinged and relentless. I disagree with Bill about the scariness. Helen Jones had every right to be worried that some nut was dangerously obsessed with her. I
  10. And they're going to decimalise the number of days in a year which will lead to a massive increase in life expectancy.
  11. Nobody could have predicted that putting politicians in charge of the police would lead to this. 🙄
  12. An interesting exercise to try is to ask Russ Bowden directly the cost of the new offices and the original budget. Maybe Gary could try it. Perfectly straightforward question with a perfectly straightforward answer obviously and one to which the people paying for it are perfectly entitled. I've tried it myself a few times. The council 'spokesman' used to say 'there isn't one' because there's only one cost for the whole project, which is an obvious lie. Now Russ says he can't say what it is because if he does, it will breach commercial confidentiality on the rest of the project, which is utt
  13. You still waiting? Looks good to me and I think everybody hopes it's a great success.
  14. Or vote for neither. It only encourages them.
  15. It's Cathy Mitchell's house. Charlotte Nichols is registered on the electoral roll in Islington so the question is why she gave the Deputy Leader's address as her home address on the nomination form. That may be the breach of the law. I think there are two possibilities. The most generous and likely interpretation is that they're rattled about the backlash to her being parachuted into a safe seat so have pretended she lives in the Borough for the credulous to see on their ballot papers. The other possibility is they've done that and committed electoral fraud at the same time, all under the
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