Caption for top photo

"Hello Radiolympia. This is direct television from the studios at Alexandra Palace!" *

THESE were the immortal words spoken to camera by Elizabeth Cowell and received at the big Radio show at Olympia, in West London. This was amongst similar test transmissions during August 1936, prior to the beginning of regular broadcasting just a couple of months later, on 2 November 1936.

Alexandra Palace was the birthplace of scheduled public, "high" definition television broadcasting in the UK and arguably, the world.

The American Modern Mechanix magazine of May 1935, described this as, England Will Broadcast First Chain Television Programs, to "Lookers".

BBC Studios A & B are the world's oldest surviving television studios.

YET in 2007, our People’s Palace was to be sold down the river by its very guardians – the Trustee – the London Borough of Haringey. The TV studios were to be destroyed with the connivance of the local council. Here is raw uncensored opinion and information about the scandal of the attempted fire-sale of our Charitable Trust’s asset, for property development. It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.

AFTER receiving a slap-down from the High Court (2007, October 5), two and a half years went by before the council finally abandoned its 15-year-old policy of "holistic" sale (i.e. lock stock and barrel). Then there was an attempt at partial sale ("up to two-thirds") to a music operator but without governance reform. To tart the place up for a developer, the council blithely sought about a million pounds towards this goal, a further sum of cash to be burnt.

THE local council has proved itself, to everyone's satisfaction, to have been a poor steward and guardian for over 20 years. Now, the master plan (below) developed under the new CEO Duncan Wilson OBE deserves to succeed.

It would be also be a big step forward to have a Trust Board at least partly independent of Haringey Council. 'Outside' experts would be an advantage. They'd likely be more interested, committed, of integrity and offer greater continuity. Bringing independent members onto the board and freeing it from political control would be the best assurance of success, sooner.


Haringey Council to write-off £37 million

NO, not the £37 million that Charles Adje (cabinet member for resources) and his colleagues put into Icelandic banks. It's a different £37 million and the "losses" have accumulated over the past 20-odd years.

Only 13 years after having been directed to do so by the government, Haringey Council will finally do the right thing and write-off the supposed debt of £37 million that our charity (Alexandra Palace) owes to the Council. The formal writing-off will be effected in an obfuscatory and bureaucratic fashion by the AP Trust Board, stuffed with councillors, in a public Board meeting on Tuesday night (24–ii–09).

The money that Haringey has claimed our charity owed it, is the matrimonial equivalent of a husband invoicing his wife for rent and a house-extension, plus bills for his smoking, drinking and gambling. She needs a divorce!

In a most important letter of 02–v–96, the Government Treasury Solicitor ruled that a majority of the expenses Haringey claimed over AP was not reasonably and properly incurred for the benefit of our Charity (the total that Haringey set fire to was larger: a figure of £100 million has been mentioned in Parliament. There's little to show for it).

Haringey, being Haringey, never accepted that damning conclusion, because it would amount to admitting their own failings. The council has misrepresented the TS letter, drawing attention to the minority of expenses that were allowed to be "indemnified".

Long-time Haringey residents will remember that this "debt" initially related to the Palace re-building costs after the 1980 fire, over which the council lost control. Interest was piled on top, waste and financial mis-management added much more over the years, and then interest was added to that too. Is it any wonder that our Palace has been able to be represented as loss-making?

The discussion document is dressed up and disguised in jargon by the general manager ("Charity Indemnification" of LBH), but the council has finally recognized the reality, that this so-called debt is, and has been, utter nonsense.

The council probably took this decision internally several weeks ago. The council's instrument, the rubber-stamp AP Board, can be expected to make (effectively ratify) the decision publically on Tuesday night. This is not how a Charitable Trust Board is supposed to work, where Trustees' first duty is to the Charity. If in the past, Board members had acted in accordance with Trust Law, they would never have agreed to these debts in the first place.

Those who understand the principles of double-entry bookkeeping will apprehend the oddity (since 2006/7) of the council's books no longer recording this as an asset, but on the other side, the books of their instrument the Trust Board, saying this huge "debt" continued to be owed to the council. This is Alice-in-Wonderland-accounting, Haringey-style.

Does this volte-face have anything to do with the fact that the minority group on the Trust Board, refused to sign the scandalous accounts at the last Board meeting, but the council still rammed them through, without full agreement?

The £3m Adje-loss is to disappear!

Is this wiping of the slate clean related to a need to bury the three million pound loss during the Licence-to-Firoka period, a Licence that was sought by none other than the current head of Haringey's finances?

Has Councillor Charles Adje approved the burial of the Adje-loss?!

We need an independent Trust Board, with independent Trustees.


SAP's petition to the PM closes in one week

The Save Ally Pally campaign's petition to the PM,
about Haringey Council & Alexandra Palace, is closing soon

THE PETITION to the Prime Minister, about stopping Haringey selling Alexandra Palace to a property developer, has been running for almost 12 months and now has fewer than seven days to go before closing.

The SAP petition was worded so as to be against sale to any property developer, rather than to a particular one. SAP foresaw the possibility of Firoka dropping out (as they did, eventually). For a long time and especially during the official "consultation" period, the details of the sale were concealed from the public by Haringey Council, but since February 2008, the most sensitive parts of the Lease to Firoka, the User Clauses, have been on public display on the PM's petition web-site – see the petition, under More Details from Petition Creator.

The extracts were provided not only to show egregious samples of what was in the agreed Lease at the time with Firoka, but also to show examples of what Haringey, in its reckless desperation, was (might still be?) prepared to agree to, in order to further their "asset disposal" of our Charitable Trust, as a "developer shell".

Although Haringey Council is unlikely to attempt such a stunt again in the short- or medium-term, they have never apologised nor officially renounced the flog-it policy. Anyone would suppose Haringey had never suffered comprehensive defeat in the High Court (5/10/07), with scathing criticism from the Judge about their conduct and that of the Charity Commission.

Currently, the petition has gathered more than 1,450 signatures, including the relevant local MP (Lynne Featherstone). At the closing date of 27 February 2009, this petition is likely to have the highest, or second-highest, number of signatures in the category Government, politics and public administration.

Because the SAP petition has more than 200 signatures,
"it will be passed to officials who work for the Prime Minister in Downing Street, or sent to the relevant Government department for a response. Every person who signs such a petition will receive an email detailing the Government's response to the issues raised."