Waltham Forest Council 'wrongly withheld viability figures proving London & Quadrant made £26 million loss on Walthamstow Stadium'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: WALTHAMSTOW: Council 'wrongly withheld Walthamstow Stadium viability figures' WALTHAMSTOW: Council 'wrongly withheld Walthamstow Stadium viability figures'

WALTHAM Forest Council wrongly withheld information that could prove a housing association faces a multi-million pound loss on a housing development at Walthamstow Stadium, a public body has ruled.

The authority has repeatedly refused to release a viability assessment which campaigners claim will show property developer London & Quadrant (L&Q) has made a £26 million loss on the stadium in Chingford Road, Walthamstow, after buying it in the property boom to turn it into a housing estate.

The council has cited commercial sensitivity as the reason for not disclosing the documents, but campaigners insist evidence of the apparent loss is in the public interest because L&Q would be forced to tap into its taxpayer-funded reserves.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has now ordered the council to release the data after saying it would not harm any "economic interests" after campaign group Save Our Stow's (SOS) referred the refusal to the body last month.

The ICO report said: "The council has failed to demonstrate that the withheld information engages the exceptions relating to the course of justice and the confidentiality of commercial ... information.

"The commissioner does not consider that it has been shown that disclosure of the information would adversely affect the economic interests of L&Q."

SOS campaigner Ricky Holloway said: "It's the biggest victory that we've had during the whole four-year campaign.

"They have shown what the council was doing was wrong, and that it's in the public interest to show whether this is a huge loss of taxpayers' money.

"This could be one of the biggest wastes of taxpayers' money in history. We look forward with great interest to receiving the viability assessment."

L&Q hopes to build a 294-home housing estate on the former dog track but has met opposition from groups which either do not want to see the blocks of flats built or support a rival bid which includes a greyhound racing track.

L&Q's proposals were passed by the authority earlier this year but still await a date for Mayor of London Boris Johnson to approve them.

Mr Johnson has stated that the viability of the development would be a major factor in his decision.

Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith said he hoped the mayor would take the figures into account when they are released.

“I welcome this decision as it is important for my constituents to know what the viability assessment amounted to, as well as what assumptions L&Q made to arrive at it," he added.

"I cannot understand what they had to hide and urge them to release the assessment this week and not drag it out to delay the publication.”

The council must now provide the viability figures within 35 days, or can lodge an appeal.

An L&Q spokesman said: “We maintain that this viability assessment is commercially sensitive. It is a normal part of the planning process for developers to submit commercial information to planning authorities, which both parties acknowledge may be of a confidential or sensitive nature.

“As a not-for-profit housing association, L&Q makes long-term investments to generate a surplus that is re-invested in new and existing affordable homes, and services for the people who live in them.

“Our plans will deliver a £50m iconic development which preserves the heritage of the Walthamstow Stadium site and provides around 300 new homes, a modern sports centre run by the community for the community, a children’s nursery and allotments, as well as more than 250 jobs to meet the needs of local people.”

The Guardian has approached the council for comment.

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Comments (16)

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1:35pm Mon 1 Oct 12

John J C Moss says...

That the Council and L&Q have yet to finalise their S106 deal so this can be referred to the Mayor, suggests they can't agree - in part - because of the poor state of the finances of this project.

However, it is quite ridiculous that it has taken more than four months to conclude an agreement which - with luck - will never be completed.

Cllr John Moss
Larkswood ward
That the Council and L&Q have yet to finalise their S106 deal so this can be referred to the Mayor, suggests they can't agree - in part - because of the poor state of the finances of this project. However, it is quite ridiculous that it has taken more than four months to conclude an agreement which - with luck - will never be completed. Cllr John Moss Larkswood ward John J C Moss

4:34pm Mon 1 Oct 12

bullyboy says...

lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor
d will shine again
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again bullyboy

5:52pm Mon 1 Oct 12

red37red says...

bullyboy wrote:
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor

d will shine again
im with you there :-)
miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-(
[quote][p][bold]bullyboy[/bold] wrote: lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again[/p][/quote]im with you there :-) miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-( red37red

6:45pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

red37red wrote:
bullyboy wrote:
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor


d will shine again
im with you there :-)
miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-(
Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.
[quote][p][bold]red37red[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bullyboy[/bold] wrote: lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again[/p][/quote]im with you there :-) miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-([/p][/quote]Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone. Cornbeefur

7:55pm Mon 1 Oct 12

Garrow says...

I feel sure one of the Conservative councillors said this at the planning meeting when it was decided and the council people waved the suggestion away, this must be in the minutes doesn't that make the hearing illegal?
As I understand it, the other proposal included housing, greyhound racing and other leisure activities. I live right by it and I can assure you it was supported by people from all walks of life. the car park was always at least half full and people used to pour off of buses and all this happened while the owners were running it down and refusing to invest any of their profits back into the business. I think the borough lost something of itself when the Stadium closed.
I feel sure one of the Conservative councillors said this at the planning meeting when it was decided and the council people waved the suggestion away, this must be in the minutes doesn't that make the hearing illegal? As I understand it, the other proposal included housing, greyhound racing and other leisure activities. I live right by it and I can assure you it was supported by people from all walks of life. the car park was always at least half full and people used to pour off of buses and all this happened while the owners were running it down and refusing to invest any of their profits back into the business. I think the borough lost something of itself when the Stadium closed. Garrow

9:04pm Mon 1 Oct 12

waltham says...

what are the council hiding ?

Robbins,pye to be caught out ?

dont hide it -show the borough the mess you got it in and how you pawned the borough for l&Q.

public disgrace created by labour
what are the council hiding ? Robbins,pye to be caught out ? dont hide it -show the borough the mess you got it in and how you pawned the borough for l&Q. public disgrace created by labour waltham

9:18pm Mon 1 Oct 12

E17_er says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
red37red wrote:
bullyboy wrote:
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor



d will shine again
im with you there :-)
miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-(
Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.
Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold?

Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]red37red[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bullyboy[/bold] wrote: lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again[/p][/quote]im with you there :-) miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-([/p][/quote]Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.[/p][/quote]Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold? Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles E17_er

9:25pm Mon 1 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

L and Q have recently announced £22 million of cutbacks (strangely the amount they have wasted purchasing the Stow,securing the site and spurious reports supporting a development proposal that only they and the so called "socialist" group want). Reduced social and affordable housing provision means many have lost their jobs in that organisation like the hundreds who lost their jobs when they bought and closed the Stow. The viability assessment once published will show a massive loss, irresponsible investment and disgraceful complicity by Waltham Forest on what has boiled down to an ego trip by the L and Q board of directors. The Stow was perfectly viable and very well supported, properly managed and marketeda it would be once again a community asset.
L and Q have recently announced £22 million of cutbacks (strangely the amount they have wasted purchasing the Stow,securing the site and spurious reports supporting a development proposal that only they and the so called "socialist" group want). Reduced social and affordable housing provision means many have lost their jobs in that organisation like the hundreds who lost their jobs when they bought and closed the Stow. The viability assessment once published will show a massive loss, irresponsible investment and disgraceful complicity by Waltham Forest on what has boiled down to an ego trip by the L and Q board of directors. The Stow was perfectly viable and very well supported, properly managed and marketeda it would be once again a community asset. bishbosh

9:59pm Mon 1 Oct 12

waltham says...

250 jobs ????????????????????
?

where in the nursery ????????????

joke
250 jobs ???????????????????? ? where in the nursery ???????????? joke waltham

11:20pm Mon 1 Oct 12

sensibility says...

An L&Q spokesman said: “.......
“As a not-for-profit housing association, L&Q makes long-term investments to generate a surplus that is re-invested in new and existing affordable homes, and services for the people who live in them....."

If this is true why did L&Q announce millions of pounds in cutbacks? Are they not generating a surplus?

They havent built Walton House yet planning permission was given ages ago for that one.

If they cant afford the £22m where will they find the £50m?

If the documents do show a loss of whats been suggested at £26m thats only £4m more than the recent cuts L&Q themselves announced. I therefore dont understand the difference and surely goes in favour of the case for viability disclosure.

Its interesting there is no mention of the poor proportion of social housing provision in the spokesperson's wording. This is a far cry from the first few years when L&Qs spokespeople took every opportunity to promote how this site would reduce the local housing waiting list. What happened to those 240 properties is the proposals were dramatically shrunk according to no social provision and just 24 affordable housing units.

There also is no promotion of the skate park - and 3 have opened locally in recent months, a fourth isnt needed. As for allotments & nurseries & sports centres there are also plenty of these locally too.

What a shame no one could come up with a way to use the building and facilities in its current format.

There should be fines for buildings remaining empty and being allowed to fall into disrepair. As for "preserving the heritage" it doesnt look particularly well preserved or looked after to me.

It will be interesting to see the report once published but I reckon that will be a long time coming as I suspect this will be bounced back and forth through appeals.
An L&Q spokesman said: “....... “As a not-for-profit housing association, L&Q makes long-term investments to generate a surplus that is re-invested in new and existing affordable homes, and services for the people who live in them....." If this is true why did L&Q announce millions of pounds in cutbacks? Are they not generating a surplus? They havent built Walton House yet planning permission was given ages ago for that one. If they cant afford the £22m where will they find the £50m? If the documents do show a loss of whats been suggested at £26m thats only £4m more than the recent cuts L&Q themselves announced. I therefore dont understand the difference and surely goes in favour of the case for viability disclosure. Its interesting there is no mention of the poor proportion of social housing provision in the spokesperson's wording. This is a far cry from the first few years when L&Qs spokespeople took every opportunity to promote how this site would reduce the local housing waiting list. What happened to those 240 properties is the proposals were dramatically shrunk according to no social provision and just 24 affordable housing units. There also is no promotion of the skate park - and 3 have opened locally in recent months, a fourth isnt needed. As for allotments & nurseries & sports centres there are also plenty of these locally too. What a shame no one could come up with a way to use the building and facilities in its current format. There should be fines for buildings remaining empty and being allowed to fall into disrepair. As for "preserving the heritage" it doesnt look particularly well preserved or looked after to me. It will be interesting to see the report once published but I reckon that will be a long time coming as I suspect this will be bounced back and forth through appeals. sensibility

10:11am Tue 2 Oct 12

Garrow says...

The more I read this, the angrier I get. I have now spoken to my friend who came with me on the night of the planning meeting and she says that the Conservative Councillor Siggers made this point, so even at that time, the council and the Labour councillors knew the application was based on false information, surely this can't be right!

The Conservative councillors who opposed this application on the night, Siggers and Northover made a lot of good arguments of which the ridiculousness of the financial information was just one, the Labour councillors said nothing, they just voted the way they were told. Can there now be a legal challenge, or is this something that Boris' people will take into account? Let's hope it's back to the drawing board for L&Q.
The more I read this, the angrier I get. I have now spoken to my friend who came with me on the night of the planning meeting and she says that the Conservative Councillor Siggers made this point, so even at that time, the council and the Labour councillors knew the application was based on false information, surely this can't be right! The Conservative councillors who opposed this application on the night, Siggers and Northover made a lot of good arguments of which the ridiculousness of the financial information was just one, the Labour councillors said nothing, they just voted the way they were told. Can there now be a legal challenge, or is this something that Boris' people will take into account? Let's hope it's back to the drawing board for L&Q. Garrow

10:11am Tue 2 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

E17_er wrote:
Cornbeefur wrote:
red37red wrote:
bullyboy wrote:
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor




d will shine again
im with you there :-)
miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-(
Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.
Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold?

Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles
Have you got access to the final years accounts for the Granada Cinema to show that it was actually profitable when it was sold please?

This will clear up the ambiguity as it was obvious to many that it was a loss maker.
[quote][p][bold]E17_er[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]red37red[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bullyboy[/bold] wrote: lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again[/p][/quote]im with you there :-) miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-([/p][/quote]Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.[/p][/quote]Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold? Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles[/p][/quote]Have you got access to the final years accounts for the Granada Cinema to show that it was actually profitable when it was sold please? This will clear up the ambiguity as it was obvious to many that it was a loss maker. Cornbeefur

12:34pm Tue 2 Oct 12

E17_er says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
E17_er wrote:
Cornbeefur wrote:
red37red wrote:
bullyboy wrote:
lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor





d will shine again
im with you there :-)
miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-(
Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.
Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold?

Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles
Have you got access to the final years accounts for the Granada Cinema to show that it was actually profitable when it was sold please?

This will clear up the ambiguity as it was obvious to many that it was a loss maker.
Have you? The answer is obviously no. There are many things that are obvious to you that require neither evidence of facts

http://www.walthamfo
restcinematrust.org.
uk/faq.html

As detailed the cinema has been independently validated as viable.

The history of the cinema is well documented on a number of websites easily searchable.

Much like your trolling through multiple usernames...

A simple google search of cranberry tinted brings up all your past activity.

"Fresh Gravee" ... http://www.guardian-

series.co.uk/news/wf

news/4491576.WALTHAM

STOW__Post_office_se

t_to_re_open/

"Hamish Bresto" .. http://www.guardian-

series.co.uk/news/47

27557.WALTHAMSTOW__C

hristmas_lights_swit

ched_on/?ref=rss

"Urban Beekeeper"
http://www.guardian-

series.co.uk/news/45

58083.WALTHAMSTOW__M

ore_celebrities_back

_cinema_campaign/

The link back to Mr. Khalid where Fresh Gravee (Cornbeefur) says Mr./ Khalid talks a lot of sense.
"http://www.thisislo

callondon.co.uk/wher

eilive/localheadline

s/4466767.WALTHAM_FO

REST__Mayor__de_sele

cted_by_Labour_/"

The curse of Mr. Khalid
http://techiebabe.li

vejournal.com/706441

.html
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]E17_er[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]red37red[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bullyboy[/bold] wrote: lets have our beautiful dog stadium back the bright lights of walthamstow/chingfor d will shine again[/p][/quote]im with you there :-) miss seeing the lights and miss my old job too:-([/p][/quote]Hardly anyone supported the place when it was open and like the Granada, it cost money just to turn the lights on, so please instead of wearing Cranberry Tinted Glasses, get real and face the facts that the days of a dog track there are long gone.[/p][/quote]Is that like the Granada that was profitable when sold? Just for once get your facts straight before being rude to people with your bizarre comments about spectacles[/p][/quote]Have you got access to the final years accounts for the Granada Cinema to show that it was actually profitable when it was sold please? This will clear up the ambiguity as it was obvious to many that it was a loss maker.[/p][/quote]Have you? The answer is obviously no. There are many things that are obvious to you that require neither evidence of facts http://www.walthamfo restcinematrust.org. uk/faq.html As detailed the cinema has been independently validated as viable. The history of the cinema is well documented on a number of websites easily searchable. Much like your trolling through multiple usernames... A simple google search of cranberry tinted brings up all your past activity. "Fresh Gravee" ... http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/news/wf news/4491576.WALTHAM STOW__Post_office_se t_to_re_open/ "Hamish Bresto" .. http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/news/47 27557.WALTHAMSTOW__C hristmas_lights_swit ched_on/?ref=rss "Urban Beekeeper" http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/news/45 58083.WALTHAMSTOW__M ore_celebrities_back _cinema_campaign/ The link back to Mr. Khalid where Fresh Gravee (Cornbeefur) says Mr./ Khalid talks a lot of sense. "http://www.thisislo callondon.co.uk/wher eilive/localheadline s/4466767.WALTHAM_FO REST__Mayor__de_sele cted_by_Labour_/" The curse of Mr. Khalid http://techiebabe.li vejournal.com/706441 .html E17_er

1:24pm Tue 2 Oct 12

bishbosh says...

@sensibility and garrow...you are of course bang on. The sooner this viability report is in the public domain the better. It needs to be thoroughly examined. This is turning into nothing more than an ego trip for the LandQ board of directors. When I speak to one or two who work in housing associations they find it very difficult to understand what LandQ are doing. They are unanimous in that they are failing their RSL and charitable status and effectively destroying a wonderful part of local history and many local jobs for nothing the local community needs. At the first public consultation an L and Q spokesman stated they are fullfilling a dire need for affordable housing within the borough that has a massive housing waiting list. This is a lie. They have stated there is broad acceptance of their scheme. This is a lie..their consultation omitted to ask any locals what they thought and never asked anyone if they wanted the dog track retained with a mix of housing. They accused local MP's of bullying their staff. This is a lie. They paid a local school £500 for schoolchildren to do pictures of what they wanted on the site. Over half wanted greyhound racing. They intend building an 8 story block of flats overlooking the local school. To compensate they set up a sports trust of over £250K. (is this is all the council can negotiate for that permanent intrusion?) They claim the viability is commercially sensitive and the local authority have been complicite in keeping this a secret...."because they have a duty to work closely with large local developers". Quadrant Construction has been set up just in time to develop Walton House and the Stow with common directors. So L and Q are paying for the development and carrying it out what can be sensitive?. You can see where this is going. L and Q make a loss but Quadrant Construction make a massive profit with their own money and senior directors get to keep their jobs instead of having to admit a massive error. There is no way on earth the Mayor should pass this development..thousan
d know this. The so called "socialist" council are inept and democratically flawed
@sensibility and garrow...you are of course bang on. The sooner this viability report is in the public domain the better. It needs to be thoroughly examined. This is turning into nothing more than an ego trip for the LandQ board of directors. When I speak to one or two who work in housing associations they find it very difficult to understand what LandQ are doing. They are unanimous in that they are failing their RSL and charitable status and effectively destroying a wonderful part of local history and many local jobs for nothing the local community needs. At the first public consultation an L and Q spokesman stated they are fullfilling a dire need for affordable housing within the borough that has a massive housing waiting list. This is a lie. They have stated there is broad acceptance of their scheme. This is a lie..their consultation omitted to ask any locals what they thought and never asked anyone if they wanted the dog track retained with a mix of housing. They accused local MP's of bullying their staff. This is a lie. They paid a local school £500 for schoolchildren to do pictures of what they wanted on the site. Over half wanted greyhound racing. They intend building an 8 story block of flats overlooking the local school. To compensate they set up a sports trust of over £250K. (is this is all the council can negotiate for that permanent intrusion?) They claim the viability is commercially sensitive and the local authority have been complicite in keeping this a secret...."because they have a duty to work closely with large local developers". Quadrant Construction has been set up just in time to develop Walton House and the Stow with common directors. So L and Q are paying for the development and carrying it out what can be sensitive?. You can see where this is going. L and Q make a loss but Quadrant Construction make a massive profit with their own money and senior directors get to keep their jobs instead of having to admit a massive error. There is no way on earth the Mayor should pass this development..thousan d know this. The so called "socialist" council are inept and democratically flawed bishbosh

2:24pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Stow Residents/Community Association says...

A copy of the Information Commissioner's Decision document is now on our website for all to read and can be viewed here;- http://stowresidents
.btck.co.uk/News
A copy of the Information Commissioner's Decision document is now on our website for all to read and can be viewed here;- http://stowresidents .btck.co.uk/News Stow Residents/Community Association

3:17pm Tue 2 Oct 12

mdj says...

'(L+Q) claim the viability is commercially sensitive and the local authority have been complicit in keeping this a secret...."because they have a duty to work closely with large local developers"...' (Bishbosh)

Well, they certainly do that! At the Planning Committee Meeting, L+Q's plans were supported by Mr Gary Ince, Chief Executive of North London Business, although the agenda listed him merely as a private citizen, with no mention of his official role. (Interestingly, NLB's website still lists him as Chief Executive, and its announcement of his resignation over the Leyton Market fiasco has been edited to remove all mention of the fact, or of him altogether, and the date has been changed).
L+Q are members of NLB's Agents' Network, benefiting from its 'high profile contacts and strong partnerships with the boroughs and Greater London Authority', and also its Developers' Network,which 'can widely benefit from our links with the local authorities and put you in touch with the right people in the planning and environment teams.'
These may seem odd priorities for a publicly-funded housing charity. NLB is, of course, partly funded by us, as the: 'official agency for investor development within the North London area of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest,' though the actions of its staff do not seem to be governed by the same codes of conduct as a local authority.

Along with its siamese twin, the Waltham Forest Business Board, we seem to have a publicly-funded, official body which provides fast-track advantages for a privileged group of insiders.

I doubt it's simply 'commercial' sensitivity that the Council would wish kept out of view here.
'(L+Q) claim the viability is commercially sensitive and the local authority have been complicit in keeping this a secret...."because they have a duty to work closely with large local developers"...' (Bishbosh) Well, they certainly do that! At the Planning Committee Meeting, L+Q's plans were supported by Mr Gary Ince, Chief Executive of North London Business, although the agenda listed him merely as a private citizen, with no mention of his official role. (Interestingly, NLB's website still lists him as Chief Executive, and its announcement of his resignation over the Leyton Market fiasco has been edited to remove all mention of the fact, or of him altogether, and the date has been changed). L+Q are members of NLB's Agents' Network, benefiting from its 'high profile contacts and strong partnerships with the boroughs and Greater London Authority', and also its Developers' Network,which 'can widely benefit from our links with the local authorities and put you in touch with the right people in the planning and environment teams.' These may seem odd priorities for a publicly-funded housing charity. NLB is, of course, partly funded by us, as the: 'official agency for investor development within the North London area of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest,' though the actions of its staff do not seem to be governed by the same codes of conduct as a local authority. Along with its siamese twin, the Waltham Forest Business Board, we seem to have a publicly-funded, official body which provides fast-track advantages for a privileged group of insiders. I doubt it's simply 'commercial' sensitivity that the Council would wish kept out of view here. mdj

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