Chartered quantity surveyor Simon Morrow did his own estimate of how much it would cost to refurbish Cressingham Gardens estate at Tulse Hill after Lambeth council slapped an estimate to refurbish of £14 million to £15 million on it.
His figure: Just under 50 per cent less at £6.95 million.
Lambeth then came up with a second ‘figure’: £9.3 million.
Mr Morrow told the meeting in the Rotunda on the estate that like a lot of people he became interested in what his council were doing. “I live in the road next door to the estate and two to three years ago heard there was talk of demolishing this place.
“The council went to the residents and said they had two estimates to refurbish it. “The first was £14 to £15 million and ‘it’s too expensive we can’t do it’.
“I came to a figure of £6.95 million before we’d even met. “Lambeth then said they had had another look and came out with a figure of £9.3 million.
“As this process went on it became very apparent a decision had been made and it didn’t matter what the figures said – they just wanted to demolish.”
Mr Morrow drew the audience’s attention to a book ‘Silent State’ by Heather Brooke* “It’s all about what the state gets up to.
“She mentioned this piece of legislation where you can get in and look at a council’s accounts. “We’ve had this right since Victorian times. – if you donated to a hospital you were allowed to go and see how the money was spent.
“I wrote to the council telling them they had not done the due diligence. “My letters were all ignored.
“I reached out to other people who were concerned about the decision-making process. “After a year we got together all the information and produced our report.
“This meeting is to make the wider public aware of what’s going on and the fact we’re not being listened to – and the wider public needs to know about it.
“We know about austerity, we know about the cuts. “The community can find solutions if you let them.”
NEXT STEPS: People’s Audit Lambeth’s next event is the People’s Audit Conference being held at Waterloo action centre, 14 Baylis Road, Lambeth SE1 7AA on Saturday March 24th from 11am to 4pm. Free entry.
Further reading: People’s Audit report on Lambeth council has “unearthed evidence of extensive financial mismanagement and failings in its financial governance that suggest millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being wasted. “Lack of governance within Lambeth council appears to be systemic.” – July 7, 2017
People’s Audit Five – “ONCE THE AUDIT PERIOD HAD BEGUN THE ATTITUDE OF THE COUNCIL AS A WHOLE WAS OBSTRUCTIVE” – July 7, 2017
LAMBETH PEOPLES AUDIT -101 QUESTIONS FOR LAMBETH COUNCIL’S CABINET – Part One – July 13, 2017
LAMBETH COUNCIL FINALLY RESPOND TO PEOPLE’S AUDIT: Report “does raise issues which the council will examine” say Lambeth – after branding it a ‘pack of lies’! August 10, 2017
COMPANY’S BILL FOR TELLING LAMBETH “WE GOT IT RIGHT – NOT PEOPLE’S AUDIT”: £30,000….. as it’s revealed council are paying Capita for advice on their “borrowing strategy”!!!
September 29, 2017
(Full title: The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy. There’s also ‘No Expenses Spared’ by Robert Winnett and Gordon Rayner, two of the Daily Telegraph team which investigated MP’s expenses – Ed. Please also see: Daily Telegraph website.)