Yesterday we found out what is going to happen to our beloved concert hall. Well, sort of.
Councillors were notified on Wednesday of a decision, taken behind closed doors, about who was going to run Fairfield Halls when it hopefully reopens in the next two years. We’d like to tell you who that’s going to be – but we can’t because apparently it’s a secret.
Here is what we were told:
- Our Labour Council has, entirely in secret, decided who will run Fairfield Halls for the next 10-15 years. It’s a secret how they arrived at the decision and it’s a secret who the chosen operator is
- The Council did not take it to a public meeting, to be scrutinised in an open and transparent way, by elected councillors or members of the public
- At no stage have the public been consulted about what they wanted or have been given the opportunity to choose between providers
- The nearly 200 members of expert Fairfield Halls staff who lost their jobs as a result of the closure have not, to our knowledge, been involved
- The Council has awarded this company a contract it believes is worth £180 million
Normally a decision of such vital local importance is taken in a public meeting, where we can all participate and listen to the deliberations – not least when it involves so much money
But that hasn’t happened in this case. Council Leader Tony Newman has taken a decision of such vital importance away from the gaze of the public, hidden away from scrutiny. And you have to ask – what’s he afraid of?
Not allowing councillors or residents see what he’s doing leads people to suspect impropriety, even if there isn’t any. All of us who live and work in Croydon have a right to know what the Council is doing, especially when it concerns such a well-loved facility.
Before they were elected, Croydon Labour boasted that they would run a truly open and transparent council. Their platitudes have been exposed as nothing more than shoddy electioneering. This is not the first time that Labour has refused to listen to Croydon’s residents and it won’t be the last. They can't be trusted with our town.
The way the Council has handled this shows nothing but contempt for Croydonians. If you are as upset about this as I am, then I urge you to do as I have done and call on the Council to reveal their plans immediately and hold urgent public engagement events to tell us what we’ll get before the our beloved Fairfield Halls is signed away permanently.
If you agree, please email or tweet Labour Council Leader Tony Newman and call on him to be truly open and transparent, for once: firstname.lastname@example.org / https://twitter.com/cllrtony