It’s a pity The Wharf are repeating Labour and Tory claims about ‘unanswered questions’ over the sale of Poplar Town Hall. All the information concerning the sale has been in the public domain for some time. There is no truth to any allegation of wrongdoing. It is a shame the district auditor’s time is being wasted on an election stunt. For those interested in the facts, see the information below that was included in my press release on the matter.
Notes to Editors:
1. The original decision to sell Poplar Town Hall was taken by a Labour administration.
2. The council commissioned two independent real estate companies to conduct a valuation. The first was conducted by GVA estimated as £500,000.The second was conducted by BNP Paribas Real Estate as between £750,000 and £950,000. BNP Paribas Real Estate is a global real estate service provider and part of the Paribas banking group. Their professionalism is unquestionable and the council accepted their evaluation. Prior to sale, the property was marketed between 9th May 2011 and 17th June 2011, being advertised on the council’s and BNP Paribas’ websites. It was also advertised in the Estate Gazette for two weeks and the East London Advertiser for one week. The Town Hall was sold to the highest bidder.
3. The Mayor had no input into the change of use planning permission. In accordance with the law planning powers belong to the Planning Committee not the Mayor. The decisions on planning permission were taken by council officers using delegated powers. This is in accordance with the constitution, (Part 3, section 3.3.4 (1) (a) (iv)) where the Council receive less than 20 objections to a planning application the decision is automatically delegated from the Development Committee to officers. Since 2011 there have been 45 change of use planning applications. 32 were delegated decisions made by officers and 17 went to committee.
4. There was wide consultation on the planning permission; there were prominent site notices for members of the public to see and 99 neighbouring properties were personally written to.
5. The Council received only 6 objections and that is why officers decided on the planning decision. It was seen by all involved as a non-controversial sale. The actions of council officers in granting planning permission were perfectly in accordance with the council’s constitution.
6. Poplar Town Hall has been discussed and recorded in minutes of Full Council meetings in May July and September 2012 and January 2013.
For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain, Political Advisor to the Mayor, on 07508 352 023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org