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Mynott on The Old House sell off: more secrecy from Brentwood's Tory Administration

September 6, 2013 4:39 PM
The Old House

The Old House

The sale of Old House will, once again, be discussed in secret under the stewardship of Brentwood's Tories. It is due to be discussed on 9th October but councillors have been told that this will not be held in the public session of the Performance & Resources Committee.

Cllr Philip Mynott, Brentwood North, released the following statement:

"When Brentwood Tories' sudden determination to sell the Old House was discussed (twice, in January and March) behind closed doors at the council, the public were denied even a chance to see and hear what their elected representatives were saying about a building that has long been a precious public asset in the borough.

"They could not, therefore, hear the feebleness of the arguments put forward by the ruling Tory group for proposing this sale, or the strength of the counter arguments being made by Brentwood's Liberal Democrats (and all other opposition groups) against this proposal.

"Suffice it to say that the first decision by the Tories to sell this asset was made in the absense of the borough's senior

Cllr Philip Mynott

Cllr Philip Mynott

finance officer having assessed the figures being quoted, and without the council having received the letter from English Heritage which laid out their response to various proposals on the building, whilst both decisons were made in the absence of any through structural survey having been done.of this precious feature of the town centre's historic fabric. In fact, English Heritage's letter on the Old House - which was only received on February 27th this year (over a month after the original Asset Panel decision - clearly states at one point that a final position on the possible conversion could not be taken "until the entire building has been thoroughly surveyed" (i.e. that, so far as English Heritage knew, it hadn't been "thoroughly surveyed" when they wrote it).

"So appalling were these closed-door proceedings that, during the second debate in March, an oppostion motion was put to postpone it for one week so that it could be held in public at Full Council; however every single Tory on the committee voted against this, preventing it from happening.

"Now that the final sale is to be discussed at the council's Performance and Resources Committee on 9th October the Tories intend that it will once again be with the public and press excluded from the chamber!"

"That these decisions have ultimately led to the absurdity of Brentwood's Tory party twice deciding on the principle of sale without knowing exactly what the structural condition of the building was, is bad enough. That what was revealed about the building's state in those discussions clearly showed that its neglect under the Tory administration had reduced its value and damaged its good condition is almost as bad. Now, unless a proper structural survey has since been conducted by the council, it must now lead to the council discussing a final sale without knowing what it's selling (i.e. its real value), to an interested buyer who, doubtless, will have commissioned such a survey (in order to know exactly what it is that they are buying), which well illustrates how unreasoning this all is.

"Seemingly only Brentwood Tories can think that making the council, as vendor, (and thus the public purse) the victim of a backfiring pig-in-a-poke trick is a good idea".