Government Minister slams L&Q housing association – L&Q refuse to comment on 25 million loss Directors made using tax payer money‏

Letters reveal pensions secretary claims L&Q ‘misled’ the publicIDS called on CLG to solve dog track row

16/12/2011

The secretary of state for work and pensions called on Eric Pickles to launch an investigation into London & Quadrant’s plans to build on an iconic former dog track,Inside Housing can reveal.

Iain Duncan Smith, acting as MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, slammed the 67,000-home landlord in two extraordinary letters to the communities secretary, obtained by Inside Housing under the Freedom of Information Act.

In a letter on 25 October this year, Mr Duncan Smith said he was ‘deeply concerned’ that L&Q had ‘continually misled the public, MPs and the media’ over its plans for the site.

He accused it of ‘disingenuous behaviour’, and of allowing the site to fall into disrepair. In addition, he claimed L&Q failed to submit plans for the site to Waltham Forest Council on 10 occasions despite informing residents it would do so

Mr Duncan Smith wrote: ‘It seems to me that L&Q are now behaving like a property speculator rather than a social housing provider and I hope you will agree this is unacceptable. I now wonder if your department would be minded to investigate this matter fully.’

A spokesperson for Mr Duncan Smith was unable to clarrify exactly what action he expected the Communities and Local Government department to take. Mr Pickles has since replied to Mr Duncan Smith to say it would be inappropriate for him to intervene in the planning process.

Greg Clark, decentralisation minister, replied in June to a previous letter from Iain Duncan Smith criticising L&Q to say he could not discuss the merits of the association’s application as it may come before him.

Mr Duncan Smith also wrote to Mr Pickles on 28 April this year to complain about L&Q but stopped short of calling for an investigation on that occasion. In that letter he wrote it had been calculated that L&Q was likely to lose £25 million if it developed the site instead of selling it.

The calculations referred to were carried out by a supporter of millionaire Bob Morton, who wants to re-open the site as a dog track, with the aid of a planning toolkit used by the London mayor to determine the financial viability of residential developments.

L&Q bought the Walthamstow site for an undisclosed sum following the closure of the venue in 2008. Campaigners believe the association is deliberately not developing the site and should have accepted an offer of £9 million from Mr Morton for the site in May 2011.

L&Q submitted a planning application for a 301-home development earlier this year but is revising the plans after concerns were raised by the Greater London Authority over adequacy of the proposed leisure facilities to replace the dog track.

Mike Johnson, land director at L&Q, said the association plans to ‘preserve the heritage of the site and provide around 301 new homes, a modern leisure centre, children’s nursery, allotments and new jobs’.

Regarding the claim of a £25 million loss, Mr Johnson said: ‘We do not wish to comment on financial assumptions made by others.’

Timeline

August 2008:

Walthamstow Stadium closes after falling admissions and the site is bought by L&Q

December 2010:

L&Q issues an apology to MPs Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy after appearing to link them with alleged threatening behaviour at a public consultation event on plans for the site

June 2011:

L&Q submits a planning application to Waltham Forest Council for a 301-home development

October 2011

: A Greater London Authority report criticises the leisure provision in L&Q’s plans

Articles

Resources

Housing association accused of ‘catalogue of lies’ by government secretary

26 April 2011

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has accused one of England’s largest housing associations of telling a ‘catalogue of lies’ about a new development.

Heritage body tried to block L&Q plans

4 February 2011

English Heritage urged a London council to refuse London & Quadrant permission to build 300 homes on the site of a former dog track, it has emerged.

L&Q reveals latest dog track plans

16 March 2011

London & Quadrant has announced new consultation events to showcase its plans for a controversial £50 million development on an iconic former dog track.

L&Q rejects alternative plan for dog track

31 January 2011

London & Quadrant has said it will press ahead with its controversial plan to build 300 homes on the site of a former dog track.

L&Q reopens dog track discussions

27 January 2011

London & Quadrant chief executive David Montague will discuss plans to build homes on an iconic dog track with opponents of the scheme tomorrow.

 

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3 Responses to Government Minister slams L&Q housing association – L&Q refuse to comment on 25 million loss Directors made using tax payer money‏

  1. DaftAida says:

    Playing any game by the set rules is bound for failure in an inherently corrupt system. As with this case, the momentum in opposition built on plain common sense, justice or at least the law, is thwarted in a laborious and lengthy process of ‘due process’. Little other than a series of buck passing charades ensure that the site continues to deteriorate. The sense, to the extent that there is any, of such landholding tactics is to further devaluate the viability of restoring that which has been halted, but also of elevating land stock value whilst maintaining current and rising land and property profits. Did L&Q ever intend to build on this land in the first place, or did they intend to stall by outraging the local community resulting in a stalemate? Just long enough to outprice the bid made, devalue the viability of restoration, deplete the resources of the opposition, set up trusts and other sweetners which claim to funnel funds into local commuty benefits and finally resell the land at a profit equal or above the loss of taxpayers investment. No, it doesn’t quite make sense. But neither does anything else to do with this case.

  2. lee sivell says:

    so steve yianni gets his big pay off. this time last year mr yianni contacted stratford police station saying i had sent him nasty emails. someone from l+q phoned my mum asking about me and where they could find me. very worrying for my mum. so when mr yianni gets his pay off i hope it brings him and his family loads of bad luck.

    • DaftAida says:

      They’re an ‘ugly’ outfit which goes to any length to defend wrong and undermine right. From making false claims to police (who don’t seem to give a damn) or harrassing family members, it’s all in a day’s highly paid play from the lowliest HO’s to the flotsam at the top of the tank. In fact, it seems, the more obnoxious the staff, the stronger their position. They are a fine example of why PPP’s are corrupt and should be abolished and all those greasing their palms to be ousted at the very least.

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