Simon Hughes blasts council's "soulless" Tooley Street HQ as town halls are put up for sale

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Wednesday 24 November 2010 4.59pm
Has he really got nothing better to do at the moment. Every country, government and council in the developed world is seeing the need for cutting costs, and not just at the edge but in a major way, to try to stave off the problems of the rampant profligacy of the last 10 or so years and anything that helps to keep costs down over the long term should be welcomed and not criticised for cheap political gains, the kind that Simon Hughes has tried to garner in the past. Please Simon find something more positive and constructive to do with your time.
Wednesday 24 November 2010 10.38pm
Urbanite, I take your point but the profligate spending continues; I mean (and do correct me if you think I'm wrong) but the council is in fact leasing its current 'headquarters' and is having to pay some form of rent. I think selling off its property is a short-term 'solution'. In Peckham, for example, the council had planned to 'throw in' some green space to make a deal more attractive to prospective developers. This smacks of desperation and does not represent 'best value', at least not to the taxpayer (although definitely to a developer). I am not sure, however, whether this plan was abandoned.
Thursday 25 November 2010 9.20am
Gavin Smith wrote:
Urbanite, I take your point but the profligate spending continues; I mean (and do correct me if you think I'm wrong) but the council is in fact leasing its current 'headquarters' and is having to pay some form of rent...

And who exactly did "build" this HQ and entered into the leasing agreement? the prior Libdem administration... It's pretty rich of Simon Hughes to criticise this building.

It makes sense for the Council to sell assets to raise cash given how hard the spending cuts will hit Southwark. I only hope that the money obtained from the sale of long-term assets will be used to fund long-term projects, as opposed to be used to pay for the daily runing costs of the borough.

As a general comment, I am amazed as to how vocal our Libdem Councillors & Simon Hughes are since the Libdem lost control of the Borough. We neither heard so much about them nor did they pay so much token attention to local voters when good old Nick Stanton was in charge.
Thursday 25 November 2010 9.27am
Gavin the offices are leased I believe too...and offer a short term soloution to the the problem of disparate offices through the borough. However, that does not mean the current owned buildings are useful either and this has been mentioned on numerous occasions. They would require a major redevelopment which the council just cannot afford. The balance between short and long term gains has to be balanced but Simon Hughes' comments were not based on this criteria but on simple politicing and trying to stir up different groups within the borough to be encouraged to feel "left out" by the concentration of services to 1 site. The council will be having to make many more difficult decisions on service reductions over the next few years and hopefully Simon Hughes can offer support rather than ill informed and petty griping, much like he does in the Westminster political arena.
Thursday 25 November 2010 9.36am
I distrust all politicians and agree it was the Lib Dem administration that got us into this to a large extent. But all Simon is doing in this instance is standing up for local services, which is what good MPs do in their constituency. Southwark is a lot more than just SE1 and whilst we might be happy with going to visit Tooley Street it's a long way from much of Southwark albeit near to London Bridge rail.
Thursday 25 November 2010 9.40am
... and by the way, the biggest con in politics is the idea that cutting costs is difficult or emotionally tough. The people making these decisions do not find it difficult at all, it is all too easy, so piling on the bandwagon would not be an appropriate thing for Simon to do for that reason.
Thursday 25 November 2010 9.43am
of course the building has no "soul" its a building!
and its a civic building which means it should be plain, functional, easy to maintain, and above all it should be cost effective, unlike certain politicians who are an absolute waste of air, space and money!

Hughes should stop shooting from the hip on matters that dont concern him and concentrate on the job hes paid to do.
Thursday 25 November 2010 6.27pm
bigphil wrote:
Hughes should stop shooting from the hip on matters that dont (sic) concern him and concentrate on the job hes (sic) paid to do.

ya mr hughes, now you're in government and finally have to live up to your promises, hows about 'no rise in tuition fees' pledge for a start.
Friday 26 November 2010 10.27pm
Hang on - hasn't the Cuming Museum recently been moved at some expense out of the upstairs of Newington Library on Walworth Road into the "Old Town Hall" next door (originally the St Mary Newington Vestry Hall) funded by a generous dollop of lottery money?

Does this story mean Southwark's new administration plan to close the Cuming Museum, after their predecessors' closure of the Livesey, which was "supposed" to be compensated for by more child-focused exhibits at the Cuming!
Friday 26 November 2010 10.35pm
I think the expectation is that the museum will stay put in the town hall.

AIUI the likely outcome is that the Walworth chamber will be used by Crossway URC (they need a new home before the Heygate is demolished) and other parts of the building will be used by the newly merged Southwark pensioners' organisations.

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