CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Councillors should listen to the people who want to see the Talacre debt paid

14 January, 2021

The apartment building next to Talacre Park

• NICK Harding and Brian Lake’s Forum piece (A scandal that remains unresolved, December 31) gave a useful update on the unpaid overage money – estimated at more than £3million of “the Talacre saga”.

But people in Camden need to see action, which should come from their elected councillors.

Unbelievably, Camden (officers and councillors) agreed to sell valuable land to a private developer for a price to be defined after its completion with only a part paid at contract signature.

Because of how their lawyers wrote or enforced that contract, all the private flats were occupied and the developer received the full sales prices before the full amount owing to Camden was established or paid.

Years later this amount has still been neither defined nor paid and when this situation is challenged the same Camden Council legal department that created the problem is asked to advise.

There is a conflict of interest here because clearly they would like this matter to be forgotten.

Their case is that they have behaved professionally. For example, in a response to a Freedom of Information request last June it was stated: “Any suggestion that this documentation was not drafted to professional standards is not accepted”.

However we have seen that other London boroughs have successfully reclaimed large sums in overages from their developments, and willingly produce detailed records of these when asked.

Camden councillors should be providing leadership at this point of crisis in confidence. They should listen to their constituents who want to see this unpaid debt collected.

And they should not be swayed by employees who may want the matter forgotten because it reflects badly on them.

LUCY MORGAN
Chillingworth Road, N7

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