THE Crown Estate's chief executive, Roger Bright, in an Evening Standard business article that referred to a 'highly contentious sale of 1,300 rented homes in London', is reported as having said that a sale 'has been agreed.
Yet, in earlier statements, he and the commissioner and chairman, Stuart Hampson, claimed a decision on a sale had not been made.
This was reiterated by Sir Stuart, and that the Crown Estate board had decided to impose additional conditions to a sale, when he appeared before the Greater London Assembly's planning committee in June. That this would be 'a good outcome for all parties' and furthermore, that 'if the Crown Estate board selects a purchaser to progress with' a summary of the relevant policies, practices and records of the prospective purchaser would be given to stakeholders and tenants as part of a second consultation before a final decision was made.
It has become clear the Crown Estate needs to finance other investments and the sale of the four London residential estates of affordable rented homes could be used for that purpose.
In addition to capital to be raised by the sale of small farms and land in Cumbria, offered for sale as a single lot at £4million - tenants not having a right to buy the freehold of their individual homes and businesses.
It seems someone was needed to execute this unsavoury scheme to raise finance, and a 'hatchet man', Paul Clark, was recruited and appointed director of investment and asset management in 2007.
He had been responsible for the sale of some 1,400 tenanted homes by the church commissioners in 2005/06, despite condemnation.
Home is where the heart is and tenanted homes should not be sold in the pursuance of personal ambitions or government targets. The Crown
Estate should now clarify.
BRYAN LATTER Retired business and property consultant West Hampstead