Wednesday 14 March 2012

Boris has the key? And a word on SayNo.

Some of you may have paid attention to Mayor's Question Time this morning when the subject of the Earl's Court Development was discussed. Some interesting issues arose from it although perhaps they offered as many questions as answers. However, it is worth looking at some key points that came out of the exchanges.

  • The resident' EC consultation finished on Monday and the result (according to Nicky Gavron the Labour leader) is that a majority of the residents have rejected the development plans (no figures provided). The consultation on WK and GG is not concluded and we have heard some very sinister sounding news about the sort of tactics the council are employing on that. The words "immoral" and "corrupt" have been bandied about but perhaps more on that soon. £100 million can, we suppose, make one do and say some very desperate and silly things.....
  • Apparently Boris, in his capacity as Mayor, is the largest landowner of the site as he owns Lillie Bridge through TfL and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre (ECEC) freehold which is leased to CapCo. Reference to Lillie Bridge Depot as being a critical issue has come to our attention before and this is a strong hint as to why that nugget was placed before us.
  • CapCo cannot redevelop ECEC without both an extension of their lease (only 29 years left on EC1) and a change of use agreement as it's protected as an exhibition space.
  • Gavron also asked Boris not to rush through a deal before the mayoral election and made reference to a supposed 'secret deal' between Boris and CapCo. We don't know for sure what this is a reference to but we have a hunch what it "could" be.

What this all means is that Boris is in fact holding some pretty killer cards on this development. How he chooses to play it is to be discovered but we have of course hinted at what he believes would be right to have there. He has urged the councils to consider a stadium or sporting facility as the "cultural" provision there. We hear that Kensington and Chelsea are soon to sign off the draft SPD and are a little irked at the delay being caused to H&F doing the same...WK and GG obviously a big sticking point. K&C are likely to remain resistant to Chelsea and planning will be extremely difficult on their side of the development.

We have to hope the residents at WK and GG give H&F a bloody nose which will bring them back to the drawing board on EC. Boris. Do your job.

We feel we ought to say a few words about SayNo CPO's latest comments about Stamford Bridge. Clearly, they were hoping and expecting a rousing, killer blow from the council after Chelsea's statement. As we know, no such thing did, or could, materialise after the club's thorough press release about the possibilities. SayNo cling to the principle that a stadium could "in theory" be built to the necessary specs but in reality seemed fairly resigned to the fact that it is a virtual impossibility. After all, a floating stadium in the English Channel is probably possible with the right amount of money but unlikely to be possible either. Incidentally, we hope that CPO speak to the council independently of the club and ask them to give details of just what they think is possible and how it differs from what Chelsea have told us.

SayNo do make a few sensible remarks about moving forward but the statement, yet again, is reduced to childish and petulant paranoia with comments about "genuine" majority votes etc etc. They also look forward to Gray Smith's "investigation" which seems as far away from being delivered as ever. We all want the results published so the EGM can be scheduled and we can all put forward ideas and resolutions that will engage more fans, solve the concerns about share purchases and distribution et al. But we wait..and we wait...and we wait. Could it be there is nothing to actually "investigate"? That nothing illegal or wrong has taken place and all the previous dark aspersions that SayNoCPO have cast against the club are just hot air? We shall see. Looking forward to hearing from you Mr Smith...

No comments:

Post a Comment