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 It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.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's attempt to sell our Charity's asset to Firoka: the final chapter?

Haringey Council : Standards Committee
Determination Hearing into Complaint about a Member
Civic Centre – probably committee rooms 1& 2
10:00 AM 30th & 31st March 2011

Hearing into Complaint SC002/0910:

former leader of Haringey Council for two years
• former chairman of Alexandra Palace Board of Trustees
• former Executive Cabinet Member for Finance
• current Councillor (and Trustee, like all Haringey Councillors)

• Key officer advice against licence (briefing note to chairman), withheld from other Trustees
• Promotion of premature licence to property developer (Firoka, i.e. Firoz Kassam);
• Premature occupation of our Charity's premises;
• Huge public subsidy to a private company;
• High Court ruling of 5 October 2007, quashed Charity Commission Order & stalled sale;
• Firoka later evicted by council in early 2008;
• Loss to our Charitable Trust estimated at £1.5m to £2m;
• Conflicts of interest abound

Haringey Council Standards Committee will be convening a Hearing on 30 March at the Civic Centre after an investigation lasting nearly 12 months, following Complaint against a Member while acting as a Trustee on the Alexandra Palace Trust Board. The Complaint follows two council investigations ("the Walklate Reports") into the 'development' of the Licence-to-Firoka.

Firoka were given premature permission to run Alexandra Palace and were eventually evicted by the council, well after the High Court quashed the Charity Commission's Order, and stalled the 125 year Lease.

During the Firoka occupation, under the Licence, not only did all our charity's trading profits go to Firoka, but on top and as financial inducement to the property developer, the council contributed a huge subsidy to the private company by way of seconded staff and a long list expenses – all met by Haringey taxpayers.

Losses to our charity as a result of the Licence were calculated in the "Walklate 2" investigation to amount to between £1.5m and £2m.

The Hearing is likely to be open to the public but a decision will be taken about that on the morning of the first day. The report ("Walklate 3") by independent investigator, Martin Walklate, is likely to be made public.