MOPAC – And How They Just Keep Giving

Well, that’s giving in a taking sort of way really. I must thank @TanyaSmith67 for bringing this matter to my attention, it had completely passed me by.  I’ll stop writing about it just as soon as Boris and co let me, honest I will.

Not content with selling off huge chunks of the Met’ s Estate (and I know there are those of you out there who aren’t quite as outraged as us at Angry Towers) but Boris’ deputy, Steve Greenhalgh, has found himself another controversy to get involved in.

Being in charge of the MOPAC/MPS estates strategy, Greenhalgh has endorsed, if not decided upon,.the sale of certain properties within the estate deemed ‘Surplus to Requirements’.  Last week, a mayoral press release said Greenhalgh had “intervened” to stop the sale of the Raynesfield homes in Raynes Park, “I was not happy with how they had been treated,” said Greenhalgh of Raynesfield’s residents. “I was not prepared to see key workers like nurses, carers and teachers forced to move out of their homes.”  In August it had been reported that “Nurses and school workers facing eviction from their police-owned homes say they are being “cleansed” from the borough due to a lack of affordable housing.

Key workers living at Raynesfield in Raynes Park and 30 Griffiths Road in Wimbledon will be evicted from their flats by the end of the year after the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) sold the land. The sale forms part of Boris Johnson’s long-term estate strategy to sell off properties and invest profits back into frontline policing.

Residents of the two estates, mostly on low salaries, will now have to leave the borough because they neither earn enough to rent privately nor meet criteria to qualify for social housing.”

Well, I have to say that I was completely unaware that the Met owned residential properties that were rented out to others, I was only aware of the Section Houses and Married Quarters.  Presumably these are ex Married Quarters that have been vacated by the officers, under whatever circumstances, and put onto the rental market. What do other Forces do?

The same thing happened in Hammersmith, where MOPAC owns a block of flats called Broadmead. Greenhalgh said he had been “very shocked” to learn that Broadmead’s residents might be turfed out and that he’d discovered this “all because” Tory councillors in his old borough had brought the tenants’ situation to his notice.

So I’m beginning to see the pattern now, Greenhalgh decides to sell off the Met-owned residential properties, that are now managed by a Housing Association and occupied by key workers or others on low income.  Then, when he hears that they residents are to be displaced (whatever did he think was going to happen to them?) he steps in top prevent it and everybody hails him as a hero.

Apparently Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh still wants those homes sold, but says this will now only happen if the new owner can offer existing tenants “similar or better terms” than they presently enjoy, ensuring that they can afford to stay, rather than selling the sites vacant on the open market for as much money as possible.

Tom Copley calls for apology from Deputy Mayor for Policing

So what is he playing at? I seen to recall that his political career has been dogged by controversy of one kind or another, and nothing seems to have changed.  He now seems to be quite happy to put people in fear of being evicted from their reasonably priced homes, then mounting his blue stallion and charging in to save them from the fate that he himself had instigated.

Or is that just the jaundiced view of a cynical duffer?

WTF Are You On Boris?

Just as the ink had dried on my last post, and my aged quill was cleaned and dry, one of my erstwhile colleagues enlightened me to something else not quite right with the Met’s Property Portfolio. [Santa, please send new quill and ink for Crimbo, much obliged, I have been good].

According to that unmissable publication Mayor Watch the Met (or Boris) has seemingly blundered again.  Bought NSY for £120 million (if memory serves me well), put it up for sale at £250 million and finally sold it to an offshore investor from UAE for £370 million.

So far so good, although I suspect there may be some Capital Gains Tax liability there somewhere.

So, having sold off the Crown Jewels Boris now finds that the replacement premises that the NSY staff will be relocating to are too f’ing small.

Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

Proceeds from the sale will kick-start a major investment opportunity to secure the future of the Met Police, with the funds being used to kit out officers across London with mobile technology such as tablets, smartphones and body cameras, enabling them to spend more time out on the streets. It will also allow much-needed investment in the remaining estate along with modern ICT infrastructure and new software platforms.

However the Met are relocating to Curtis Green building on Embankment but have already identified the need for extension works, they are planning the construction of a new rear extension to help create “525 work spaces” for officers and civilian support workers.

At the same time MOPAC has authorised a revamp of Holborn police station to accommodate the Met’s legal department and the refurbishment of three floors at its Marlowe House office block to create a further 616 work stations.

However a briefing document drawn up for Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, warns that the combined space created by the projects may be insufficient to house all of the Met’s HQ functions.

The document states: “One of the original planning assumptions for the Mayor Buildings Estates Strategy and the exit of NSY was that all teams exiting NSY will be relocated within the remainder of the MOPAC estate.

“Whilst this position can be achieved in terms of available floor space, certain facilities would require further investment to maintain operational performance.”

The document continues:

“Recent developments have necessitated the need to look at the accommodation requirements of specific teams again, and occupational arrangements of key partner agencies.

“A growth bid for the specific team will require the provision of further accommodation. Studies are underway to model whether the existing MOPAC estate can meet these requirements or whether third party accommodation is needed.”

So, forward planning not high on MOPAC’s skillset then.  Green party AM Baroness Jenny Jones commented: “It does seem a bit ridiculous that the Mayor in his rush to sell off police buildings has left the Met with a headquarters that is too small.

Curtis Green, or Scotland Yard as it will soon be known, may not even be operational until October 2016.

And then, hold your breath dear reader, there’s the Met’s other White Elephant, Empress State Building which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

ESB

This one is only leased, but is also on ‘the list’.

If I may quote from an article in the Grauniad last year…….

“Anyone as enmeshed in London government as Boris Johnson’s policing deputy Stephen Greenhalgh makes connections in overlapping fields. These can be valuable but also trigger unhelpful suspicions. Greenhalgh’s energetic history as a Conservative politician and company director illustrates how such problems might arise.

His present job as head of MOPAC – the mayor’s office for policing and crime – involves lots of complex maths about where Metropolitan Police Service personnel should be based. The objective is to save money in the context of big pressures on budgets. Several police stations are to be sold, along with New Scotland Yard, the Met’s famous HQ since 1967. And then there’s the Empress State Building (ESB), a 31-floor, 117 metre tall tower, which presently provides nearly 4,000 desk spaces for the Met.

The ESB is leased by MOPAC on the Met’s behalf from the property developer Capital and Counties (Capco), which bought a 50% share of it in 2008 and announced in May that it had bought the other half. The building’s location is significant. It stands within the 77 acres of prime west London land Capco intends to clear and replace with four high-priced urban “villages”, destroying in the process the historic Earls Court exhibition centre and the homes of around 2000 people, most of whom would sooner be left alone despite a promised offer of replacement dwellings nearby, if their responses to the council’s consultation on the issue are any guide.


This
widely-opposed redevelopment, known as the Earls Court Project, is dear to Greenhalgh’s heart. Most of the territory it covers lies within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F), which Greenhalgh led for six years from May 2006. Greenhalgh championed the scheme when at H&F. Shortly before leaving for his new job at City Hall described it to the Guardian as “the best deal in the history of redevelopment in London.” Johnson too is a big fan, hailing it as a “landmark project” in one of his London Plan Opportunity Areas.”

My apologies to the Grauniad for such a large quote, but it seemed fairer and more effective than paraphrasing it.

Is it just cynical, suspicious me, or is there a potential conflict of interests here?

It certainly does nothing to help resolve the Met’s almost critical shortage of desk space.

Never mind, it will sort itself out and all become clear in the fullness of time. It’s probably just me.

A Nice Little Earner Boris

This one is for all you Larndarners, NORF, SARF, it doesn’t really matter cos Boris has sold you out anyway.

I’ve blogged before about MOPAC selling off the family silver, most recently NSY has gone, as you will have heard.

Well if any of you are interested in what has been happening to the Met’s Estate then read on, if not, duck out now.

Below are details of the Met’s properties that have been sold off 2013 up until end of August this year. I don’t know if NSY has completed yet, but it doesn’t seem to feature yet.

Name of site
disposed of
Address &
Postcode
Value of
sale,
£’000
Purchaser
name and description
Expected new use Public Access
Prior to
Closure (Y/N)
Julian
Headon House – Office
West Hendon
Broadway, Edgware, Hendon, NW9
7AL
£3,250 Torah
Vochesed
Buildings Ltd
Private school for
Jewish community
N
Spring Court –
Residential
35 Station Road,
Sidcup, DA15
7EA
£1,149 Mr PJ and
Mrs BT Sherlock
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Kingsbury
Police Office
5 The Mall,
Kenton, Middlesex, HA3
9TF
£500 Bellway
Homes Ltd
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
Walthamstow Former Police Station 360 Forest Road, London, E17 5JQ £1,006 E17 Met Ltd Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential Y
Richmond
Former Police
Station
8 Red Lion Street,
Richmond,
Surrey, TW9 1RW
£2,700 Snowfinch
LLP
Ground floor
commercial, upper floors residential
N
Kingsground –
Residential
1-11 Kingsground
and
134-144 Eltham
Hill,
Eltham, SE9 5ED
£1,271 Wilson
Homes
(London) Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Hanwell
Former Police
Station
169 Uxbridge
Road,
Ealing, W7 3TH
£950 Octo
Investments
Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Amelia Street
– Light
Industrial
2-16 Amelia
Street, Walworth, London, SE17
3PY
£3,400 Family
Mosaic Home Ownership Ltd
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
St John’s
Wood Former
Police Station
20 Newcourt
Street, London, NW8
7AA
£8,555 Newcourt
Property
Holdings Ltd
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Mackenzie
Trench House
– Residential
363 Lillie Road
London, SW6
7PD
£3,250 Cherwell (Lillie Road) Ltd. Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential N
3-5
Radbourne
Road – Office
3-5 Radbourne
Road
London, SW12
0EA
£1,115 Radbourne
DCP Ltd.
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
N
Willesden
Green Former
Police Station
965 High Road
London, NW10
£2,550 Gargreen
Ltd.
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
Y
Winchmore
Hill Former
Police Station
687 Green Lanes
London , N21
£900 AMC Trust Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Leyton
Former Police
Station
215 Francis Road
London, E10
£1,250 Uptime
Properties
Ltd.
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Harold Hill
Former Police
Station
Gooshays Drive
London, RM3
£1,625 Lidl UK GmbH Redevelopment for retail N
1-8 Park Close, Windsor – Residential Brook Street
Old Windsor, SL4
£2,250 The Crown
Estate
Refurbishment / redevelopment for residential N
Battersea
Former Police
Station
112-118
Battersea Bridge
Road
London, SW11
£6,000 Linden
Limited
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential
Y
Connaught
Gardens – Residential
Connaught
Gardens 5-9 & Flats 10-27
London, N10 3LH
£9,150 Pantheon
Services Limited & Muswell Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
N
Clapham
Former Police
Station
51 Union Grove
London
SW8 2QU
£4,500 Lexadon
(Union Grove) Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Muswell Hill
Former Police
Station
115 Fortis Green
London
N2 9HW
£3,525 Station
House (Muswell Hill) Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
East Ham
Former Police Station & Section
House
4 High Street
South London E6 6ES
£3,350 London
Design and Engineering UTC
Education Y
Brockley
Former Police
Station
4 Howson Road
London
SE4 2AS
£2,050 Holbrook
Investments
Limited
Refurbishment /
redevelopment for residential
Y
Chadwell
Heath Former
Police Station
14 Wangey Road
Chadwell Heath
Essex
RM6 4AJ
£1,000 Al Huda
Welfare
Foundation
Education / community N
Orpington
Former Police
Station
The Walnuts
Orpington
BR6 0TW
£2,307 Berkeley
Homes (Eastern Counties) Limited
Comprehensive
redevelopment for residential / health care
Y
Hackney
Former Police
Station
2 Lower Clapton
Road Hackney E5 0PA
£7,600 Tauheedul
Free School
Trust
Education Y
Whetstone
Former Police
Station
1170-1172 High
Road London N20 0LW
£4,150 Alma
Primary
Education Y
Golders Green Police Station 1069 Finchley
Road London NW11 0QE
£5,312 Derbyhaven
Services
Ltd., & Ellora Enterprises Ltd., & Adria Services Ltd.
Residential / community Y
Harrow Road
Police Station
325 Harrow Road,
London
W9 3RD
£9,000 Redrow
Homes Ltd.
Residential Y
Wanstead
Police Station
Spratt Hall Road,
Wanstead, London, E11 2RQ
£1,635 Sunil Kumar
Goel &
Ajanta Gupta
Residential Y
East Dulwich
(New) Police
Station
173-183 Lordship
Lane London SE22 8HA
£6,400 Harris
Federation
Education Y
South Norwood Police Station 11 Oliver Grove
London
SE25 6ED
£2,300 Secretary of State for Communities
and Local
Government
Education Y
Barnes Green
Police Office
96-102 Station
Road Barnes SW13 0NG
£10,005 Berkeley
Homes (Central London) Limited
Residential N
Pan London
Residential
Various £4,128 Various Residential N
Highgate
Police Station
407-409 Archway
Road London N6 4NW
3,575 Bellway
Homes
Limited
Residential N
Barking
Police Station
6 Ripple Road,
Barking
IG11 7PE
925.00 Resco
Investments
Limited
Residential Y
Wealdstone
Police Station
74 High Street
Wealdstone
HA3 7AF
950.00 Meso
Investment
LLP
Residential N
Marylebone
Police Station
1-9 Seymour Street London
W1H 7BA
3,000 Seymour Street Nominees Limited &
Berkeley Street Nominees Limited
c/o The Portman Estate
Mixed use redevelopment Y
Tabor Grove 22 Tabor Grove
Wimbledon
SW19 4EB
1,635 Southpoint
Capital
Limited
Residential/office N
Hampstead
Police Station
26 Rosslyn Hill
London
NW3 1PD
14,105 The
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Education Y
West Drayton
Police Station
Station Road
Hillingdon
UB7 7JQ
2,200 Area Estates
Limited
Residential N
Chalk Farm
Garage
5-17 Haverstock
Hill London NW3 3NN
2,000 Cambridge
Gate Properties Limited
Residential/retail N
Sydenham
Police Station
179 Dartmouth
Road London SE26 4RN
1,455 Sydenham
PS Limited
Residential Y
Norbury
Police Station
1516 London Rd.
Norbury
SW16 4ES
940.00 Norbury PS
Limited
Residential Y
Pan London
Residential
Various 3,957 Various Residential N

 

Now my basic abacus makes this just shy of £124 million.

Is is worth it?  Is that really enough to make a difference.  Where on earth are all your lockers and kit going going to be? Back room as Tesco (other supermarkets are available)?

In addition to this there are also plans to sell the following in the next year or so;

Chelsea Police Station

Buckingham Gate

A 5 metre wide strip of land on Isle of Dogs (god knows what that is)

Residential Property Treetops, 4A The Drive, George Road, Coombe Hill, Kingston, Surrey.   I have no idea who used to live here, but no.2 sold in 2009 for £3.75 MILLION, so not a PC I’m guessing.

  TREETOPS

Residential Property 17 Canonbury Park North.

Buckingham Gate, who could forget Buckingham Gate??  I don’t know if the County Forces have the equivalent, a dedicated Feeding Centre for those on Aid to Central London etc.  A fantastic building with great atmosphere, catering staff would always greet you with a smile and a cheery comment, no matter what the time of day, although they did sometimes give us curry for breakfast, but who cared?  A great place to swap your Beat Duty Helmet for somebody else’s if yours was a bit tired (allegedly) and those a little older than me inform me that it was the building in which the official enquiry into the sinking of the Titanic was held.  So not short on history either, but let’s just sell it off.

So there you go Londoners, a little bit more history goes down the pan, and will it REALLY help.  It sounds like a lot of money to us, but set against the operating budget for the MPS is it?