Friday, March 07, 2008

Failed 2012 Land Grab

See those Pearly Kings?

The government likes to make out that although 2012 is costing the rest of us an arm and a leg, we should be less selfish and think of all those smiling faces down the East End. Down there, the streets are full of Pearly Kings and Queens 'avin' a right knees up and thanking us for our generosity in regenerating their bombed out slums.

Er, yes.

The truth is that many locals opposed the whole deal. Not least, the local businesses that have been bulldozed aside to make way for the commissariat masterplan.

There's also the the issue of property developers who in one way or another had already acquired the land around the site. What happened if they wouldn't sell?

Neptune Developments is one such. They own 6 acres next to the main site which the London Development Agency tried to buy. Neptune opposed it vigorously, and eventually succeeded in fighting it off. But they didn't leave it there. They sued for compensation:

"Neptune was awarded costs at the end of last month and is seeking up to £2m for its legal and professional fees, with an additional £1m being sought by tenants on the land. The level of costs will be agreed in the High Court at a future date."

Patrick Heffron, managing director of Neptune says:

"This is an outrageous waste of public resources, pursuing an unsuitable site when there were three other alternatives already available."

He can say that again: taxpayers are down by £3m on the deal and we haven't even got the land.

Mind you (as BOM's correspondent points out) for a property company surveying a soggy soggy market, suing the bumbling LDA must seem like a pretty neat way of earning a crust.

(HTP Joan W).

PS We're going to take a closer look at the finances of the LDA. Quite apart from being one of our useless Regional Development Agencies, they've also been heavily implicated in the Lee Jasper outrage.

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