£30m Fairfield Halls project never went to competitive tender | Inside Croydon

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After more than three years, the renovation of Fairfield Hall has not yet been completed

The Croydon Council failed to conduct any form of competitive tendering process before allowing the rookie developer to take charge of the £30 million renovation project of Fairfield Halls brick by brick.


According to former senior staff working in the former conference hall, this cruel mistake has caused taxpayers of municipal councils to pay nearly twice the original budget, and may even endanger the future of the 60-year-old art venue. In the short term, it will reopen this year.

In June 2016, a decision was made at a cabinet meeting of the Parliament to monitor the overdue renovation of the hall – only one year after the Labour Party established the brickwork as a housing developer. At that time, brick by brick did not even build a garden shed, it was okay to supervise a complex multi-million pound project to modernize and upgrade one of the most valuable assets of the City Hall.

All council contracts, especially contracts worth millions of pounds, should go through a strict competitive bidding process. The £30 million renovation project has never been regarded as a stupid thing by the Labour government. Last month, after a series of wrong decisions and wasted “investments”, they were forced to declare that they were actually bankrupt. The heart of many people.

Only after a 14-month campaign on this website to seek direct freedom of information request, the council accepted the application: "Please provide all reports and letters related to the competitive bidding process for the designated renovation contractor Fairfield Hall".

The FoI request was submitted on October 30, 2019. Soon after the budget was overrun and the refurbished lobby was reopened, a series of reports from the lobby staff and customers confirmed the unsatisfactory nature of the building brick by brick. s work.

Sadiq Khan was shown to the lobby by Alison Butler and Tony Newman in 2017-a year ago, they handed over a £30 million renovation to the rookies Developer Brick by Brick

The committee was deadlocked and delayed or even violated the law, and provided (intentionally?) misleading and incorrect responses ("We were unable to provide reports and letters related to the competitive bidding process", they said in the November 2019 record) It was not until three days before Christmas that they officially admitted that this project, worth 30 million pounds, had never conducted any competitive bidding.

The rationale behind the brick-by-tile transaction is that they will oversee the renovation of the lobby and ultimately pay all the costs from the profits they will build on the hundreds of apartments around the site. Chris Buss recently described this complex property transaction as an “interesting transaction” and Chris Buss was appointed to investigate the operation of Brick by Brick.

Fairfield Halls "darkened" in June 2016 to allow builders to perform work on site that would have taken only two years. As a result, no major on-site construction began within 12 months, because the person in charge expressed surprise and shock that asbestos should be contained in the structure of the art center built in the 1950s-although at least three broad asbestos scopes were defined on the building report. Prior to Fairfield Halls by the council.

During the course of the project, the two largest contractors employed by Brick by Brick either resigned or disputed millions of pounds in fees.

Appeared this year

Costs worth more than £9 million.

Although contract disputes are not uncommon in large-scale construction projects, two such important and reputable service providers should express their dissatisfaction. This must be due to the lack of experience and qualifications of Brick by Brick and its senior management in this situation The reflections include the "chief executive" and former board director Colm Lacey.

If "one brick, one tile" is not qualified for this job, how does the Croydon Council hand it over to novice developers?

Last week, the Croydon Council finally made an explanation.

Their letter of intent responded: "The 2016 original cabinet document established the background of the decision under point 3.16. We are not a participant in the competitive bidding process, nor are we a party to any contract for the renovation of the hall signed by Brick by Brick, but it does They were granted permission to carry out construction because this is still our asset."

Simon Hall: Simon Hall: In his plan, the profit from the apartment was used for renovation and increased the vault of the City Hall. However, the brick by brick building failed

The Cabinet Report was prepared by the then Assistant Chief Executive Richard Simpson (Richard Simpson), whose responsibilities were shared by Alison Butler, a member of the Cabinet Housing Committee, and Simon Hall, who was in charge of the district’s finances. (Simon Hall) Shared responsibility.

Hall resigned, Butler was fired earlier this year due to the financial collapse of the council, and most of the blame for City Hall’s problems was due to Brick’s failure to repay any interest, failure to repay any loans or any profits after repayment Operating for nearly six years.

In the 2016 Cabinet Report, it was almost an afterthought that it was a short practice to delegate this important responsibility brick by brick. For Butler and Hall, their focus is clearly on the possibility of real estate speculation in building apartments around College Green near Fairfield Hall.

The preamble reads: “The recommendations made in this report maximize the use of the assets of the City Hall to build new houses...”, adding that the plan will “enable an innovative business model that will enable the municipal The government will benefit financially and help achieve savings goals" and "ensure improved community facilities."

Few bystanders: the brick by brick apartment building at College Green will not inspire people

Today, more than four years later, bricks and bricks have not yet begun construction work on the residential part of the plan. This is another costly failure-April 2020,


The second version of their proposal is only necessary, because as the relationship between the committee and the college of continuing education becomes increasingly fierce, Brick by Brick cannot guarantee the purchase of key parts of the website from Croydon College.

In the 2016 cabinet document, Simpson’s report stated under the heading “University Green Development”: “University green development has always been the subject of previous cabinet reports, including a £30 million investment in Fairfield Halls, which is a 200,000 square feet of new university/university building and approximately 2,000 new residential units as well as new public realm, retail and leisure space.

"The application for the mixed plan was submitted in February 2016, and the planning committee will review it in July/August 2016.

The report submitted to the Cabinet in June 2016 was almost after the fact that the £30 million project was handed over to Brick by Brick, and there was definitely no tender process.

"According to other locations suitable for immediate development of the entire town, it is recommended to use a brick-by-brick structure to propose those elements of a university green plan in which the council holds land rights and/or options.

"This will include at least the first phase (refurbishment of Fairfield Hall, initial residential development, enabling engineering of university facilities and some public domain projects) and phase two (delivery of new university buildings, reconstruction of existing buildings, university land And other public domain works).

"The process will involve the transfer of land rights in the relevant parts of the site block by block in accordance with the terms set out in Part B of the report. A £30 million package of improvement projects will be completed brick by brick and approved.

The report has been agreed, because all documents submitted to the Cabinet are always the same.

Lacey and Bricks and Bricks will show complete contempt for the board’s review process by convening an annual committee meeting (usually with Butler’s support) to come up with a "business plan" that strips off all its financial details so that It is impossible for elected members to do their jobs.

Colm Lacey: Shows total contempt for the board’s review committee

Starting from the summer of 2016, at the Fairfield Auditorium, which is in charge of brick by brick, the construction site was quickly postponed due to asbestos or poor project management. Costs began to rise, and several elements of modernization work were silently cancelled. These elements were previously considered to be the “necessary” conditions for bringing the auditorium into the 21st century.

Part of the funds for the project were transferred to other places. This is why Fairfield Halls is now an art center without an art gallery.

. The grant was approved by the Capor2Coast board meeting attending the meeting. It was Tony Newman, leader of the Croydon Council at the time, Mark Watson (then a member of the Council of Parliament), and a An introduction session that included Parliamentary officials Stephen Tate and Colm Lacey.

In this bidding, £3 million of the total grant was earmarked for the creation of

Gallery space in the lobby underground parking lot.

That gallery was never built.

According to the council, they “signed a revised agreement with C2C regarding the grant of grants in April 2018. As the agreement was revised, the council agreed not to spend £3 million in C2C payments on the gallery, and It is the reallocation of funds to other elements of the plan."

The art gallery is one of several important aspects of the renovation, the purpose of which is to save money, and sources in Fairfield Halls worry that this will endanger the renovation and cause the venue to no longer be suitable for use.

There has never been an activity to improve the stage entrance of the concert hall, which is an integral part of the project's goal, with the aim of making bigger and more modern performances once again in Croydon.

In September 2019, the venue even reopened without replacing the dilapidated seats in the Ashcroft Theater and Concert Hall Auditorium. Since the venue opened in November 1962, the venue has been supporting Croydon art lovers.

Due to poor management of the council and brick by brick, did the sun finally fall on Fairfield Hall?

Before the renovation started, the 60-year-old artist’s entrance elevator had been discontinued and was accused of being unsafe and expected to be replaced. Except for four years after starting work in the Fairfield Halls building, the old, condemned elevator still exists, without any modern replacement.

Due to the coronavirus, Fairfield Music Hall was forced to close in March and there have been no public performances since. The venue manager BHLive recently received a £2.5 million grant from the Arts Council to reopen the halls, but they declined to explain the situation.

Due to poor construction work, some of their former employees doubted whether this was possible.

"There are many places that are not completed and incomplete," a senior staff member who was recently removed from the lobby told

"With the artist's entrance elevator being condemned, I can't see how they can realistically reopen the concert hall because you can't expect to drag musical instruments and equipment onto the stage of the stairs.

"The entire site has unfinished construction projects and thorny issues. The staff area at the back of the house is very embarrassing, which is a real safety hazard.

"All these things should be handled by the project manager, but never. To complete some important improvements, such as getting into the stage, it may cost millions of dollars. Now after they go bankrupt, the money is unlikely to come from the council."

Thanks to the help of Newman, Hall and Butler, Croydon-an art center without art galleries-will become London's "cultural borough" in 2023.

Croydon is so ridiculous. We have been promised too much, and very little left. The contractor does not have a bidding procedure, and the operator does not have any procedures, because all well-known companies have withdrawn and only BH Live is left to win bonuses. Now, there is an unfinished building left in the hands of the leisure center operators, and these operators have exceeded their depth. The venue has never had a chance. It is no wonder that a few months after the reopening, senior staff began to issue notices. The Croydon Council has many unanswered questions to answer;

– Why did BH Live get the contract? – Release their bid offer

– Since the award of the contract, how much has the Croydon Committee paid to BH Live?

-Who authorizes overspending?

– Where will the funds be transferred to BH Live for payment and "good" repairs?

– Is the resident company still paying rent (if how much)?

Will the Croydon Council see greater transparency in 2021? Will it turn a new page? In order to rebuild trust in the entire cultural community, we need these answers to move on.

David, please be patient. Our excavation work has revealed important answers to several of your questions and will be reported soon.

You may hope that those comments above will find the answer. let us see.

With such reports (and many other excellent examples of investigative journalism from Inside Croydon), you must wonder whether Whitehall would think that Croydon Council cannot fix it. Could it be based on the breakup of Northampton County Council?

I read this article with interest, which raised an interesting question: "The EU passed legislation to ensure that the public procurement market is open and competitive, and that suppliers are treated equally and fairly. These rules cover things like contract advertising. , The procedures for evaluating company certificates, awarding contracts and remedial measures (fines) in case of violation of these rules."

As far as I know, during my tenure in the local government, I have dealt with some competitive bidding processes, but I remember that the only exception to this process is only for defense or security contracts. All contract tenders are reviewed by members and senior officials. It looks like someone is crushed by pants (Croydon Council)

It is possible that some members of the assembly, "managing" and supervising the BXB's behavior during the establishment, is equivalent to public officials' misconduct or misconduct?

I will bow to Croydon's wealth of knowledge of the process (and lack of proper process) that led to this regrettable situation inside Croydon, but I will comment on the building I see today.

Any commissioned client who knows the butt from the elbow will ensure that the bidding architect can show direct and relevant knowledge of: (I) Dedicated to regional art architecture (ll) and the historic existing structure of the 1950s/60s (lll) Work together to transform the auditorium building into a contemporary regional art center.

Newman and his cabinet did not conduct any of these inspections, but stupidly and lazily handed over the entire commission to BrickxBrick's internal team of architects, who were completely unable to prove the prerequisites usually required for projects like this. Newman represented the Croydon Council as a client and screwed it up.

The interior decoration of the building looks like part of the TV renovation plan. When you first enter the building, the lack of sensitivity to existing buildings is obvious. The choice of materials, the insensitivity of color choices, and the lack of understanding of existing buildings all highlight the lack of experience of the architects involved. They painted the existing white handrails with white household paint at the reception at night! -Absolutely cruel, it is a decision to devalue existing buildings. The failure to refurbish the seats in the main auditorium was another blind decision that did not receive sufficient budget priority.

And it has nothing to do with budget-London has at least 10 architectural practices with a certain degree of experience and design capabilities, and these practices may make Fairfield Halls a landmark in our town.

There is another component that can truly transform the building from a concert hall venue into a proper art center, including an important public gallery/exhibition space.

Tony Newman was able to provide this gallery exhibition space during the renovation process and was completely messed up-this is his complete lack of vision and leadership.

The interior decoration work is basically a refurbishment work, mainly to clean up the common parts and restore the building to the 1960s style when it was opened.

But like Fisher's Folly and the New Addington Leisure Centre, the final total cost of the project is many times higher than the original.

The committee could have built a new art center, but the original budget was 60 million pounds.

So, like the £150 million of the Tory parliamentary committee that Newman failed to investigate, where did the money go?

The sad state of this place sounds like something from Laurel and Hardy's movies. Apparently, the Steinway piano at Fairfield Halls has cancelled AWOL, making it a useless place for the orchestra-great! Admittedly, I prefer heavy metal fans, but still so.

There are two Steinway. At least one was purchased through a public subscription. Both disappeared when they were closed (there is a rumor that they had been sold to a minor public school).

BHLive entered into a supply transaction with a piano manufacturer of an unknown brand, but returned all instruments in the summer to avoid rent (as disclosed exclusively by iC)

This is indeed cruel. Sorry

The Mavericks put forward the main points about purchasing. In my career, I have also spent a lot of time dealing with public construction contracts, including the purchase of a £200 million Tramlink. If the Fairfield Halls works purchased by BxB are not public institutions, they may not be subject to EU regulations. However, if the Croydon Commission is the client of the contract and BxB is only the agent, then I think there may be a violation of EU regulations. Competitive bidding can prove its value and reduce the risk of "transactions". Considering the overspending, I would like to know what kind of contract to sign and how to share the various cost risks.

Given that I must strictly require public funds to be spent on construction projects, I find the condition of Fairfield Hall depressing and betraying the public that the Council should serve.

I think that taking a gentle "transaction" route is to not let anyone stand out, but a means to provide freedom and flexibility to very weak, selfless clients and inexperienced design teams. It failed.

Either way, the residents and enterprises in this borough are huge harm.

Sounds like it might be a police matter? ? Violating laws and regulations, embezzling funds, and losing public assets. The addresses of Butler and Newman. Must be famous for the arrest warrant!

I am waiting for four things to happen.

The first is the rest of the Croydon Commission, when its procurement and bidding policies and procedures are very clear but ignored in this case, investigating how this happened.

The second reason is that the Croydon Conservative Party hypocritically spoke out about the scandal and ignored their party’s behavior in the government by signing multi-million pound contracts with friends and donors.

Croydon Labour ranked third and eventually kicked Newman, Hall and Butler out of the party. Unless Hamida Ali and others think this is okay.

Finally, let the police wake up and notice the obvious corruption and start an investigation.

In view of all these recent wrongdoings of the Security Council, does Sadiq Khan (Sadiq Khan) have anything to say about the situation in Croydon? I remember seeing his photos when Fairfield reopened and in various iC stories.

You might ask the Labour MP in the town

Oh, the MPs accidentally "ignore" everything... "Wrong?"... "Monitoring"... To me it was like a scam

Does the closure of the Art Gallery/College plan mean that the Fairfield parking lot can cancel boarding and become a parking lot again? Or we still look forward to a place that can accommodate 2500 people (1800 concert halls and 700 theaters), can park only 100 cars, to tick the ideological box and build a moneyless parliamentary vanity project...

An excellent survey! When my choir was singing in the venue soon after it reopened, it would help me understand what I saw-shoddy decoration, dust everywhere, and choir seats in a dangerous state. I think this is the result of trying to meet its latest reopening date, but now I realize that this is a local phenomenon of the entire project.

If you get rid of Borough Architects, Borough Engineers, and Contract Compliance Department, and rely on administrators, then it seems that you usually get messed up in Fairfield Halls and Croydon. When replacing the Fairfield Halls boiler in 1993, I served as an electrical engineer on the committee and provided design advice. All work is tendered and there is no overspending.

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News, opinions and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times, these people are in the most populous and most populated borough of London. Headquartered in Croydon (Croydon), edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com

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