Croydon’s Labour-run Council has continued its worrying trend of making large financial decisions behind closed doors.
It was announced today that the Council had purchased the Colonnades Retail Park site in a £53m deal.
This follows reports on the BBC that over 200 shopping centres are at risk of falling into administration.
This is the sort of investment that should have had significant public scrutiny before taking place. With Croydon’s Westfield/Hammerson town centre development stalled and a continuing rise in online shopping, the wisdom of this purchase is open to debate.
What is certain is that Croydon residents, that are constantly being bombarded with messages of how short of money the Council is, will be wondering just where such a huge amount of money has come from.
With the ink barely dry on the purchase of the £30m Croydon Park Hotel (£5m above the asking price), local tax payers can be forgiven for wondering just where this will all end and who will be footing the bill.
Cllr Jason Cummings, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance and Treasury said:
‘At a time when this Labour Council are constantly blaming the Government for lack of funds taking a decision to spend such a huge amount of money, with no opportunity for local residents to scrutinise or offer opinion, is very worrying. If they have a strong case for such a purchase then be brave enough to discuss it openly and allow some debate. To be taking such huge decisions behind closed doors, as is happening all too often on Croydon, only creates an atmosphere of distrust.’
Croydon Council’s total borrowing is fast approaching the £1bn mark which will raise questions about how long it’ll take future generations to pay off Labour’s spending.