The Talacre scandal will not go away
29 October, 2020
Development at the edge of Talacre Park
• I SUSPECT there are many who want the scandal surrounding the sale of land for the Talacre development to go away, (Talacre Park: those missing millions, August 27).
This must not be allowed to happen. As someone who has followed this for over 10 years, that is what I fear. We are talking of only £300k paid and several millions of pounds owed.
Looking at the Talacrefacts website, where Freedom of Information responses are shown, we find that more became due from the owner on 21-8-2015. Between that date and the middle of this year, the council’s response was always that they were looking into it.
For example, in February 2020 they responded thus: “We are in the process of obtaining further legal advice from external counsel and maybe in a position to provide further clarification after receipt of that. We recommend submitting a further request in three months’ time”.
Then we heard seemingly contradictory information: – Money is owed but it’s not collectable, due to “weak documentation” (Zoom meeting 5-10-2020).
– “Any suggestion that this documentation was not drafted to professional standards is not accepted” (FOI response 16-6-2020).
– “Everyone in the Town Hall involved has now left”. Not a good reason, and not true.
– “We are where we are” and “lessons have been learnt.
– “No expert has been appointed” (FOI response 3-9-2020).
Either or both sides are entitled to require an “expert” from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to be appointed to decide how much, if anything, is owed. Camden has not sought to have one appointed.
The public is surely entitled to be given the full facts. Until that happens and there is an inquiry in which we can all participate, the suspicion will continue that we are witnessing a cover-up.
CÉLINE LA FRENIÈRE
Talacre Road, NW5