Here is the text of an email I received from Tim Pollard today:
"Dear Mr Frost
Apologies for the delay in replying to your email – it is a rather busy time of year…..
The £180,000 costs referred to in the Croydon Guardian report related to the costs that the Council incurred in relation to the Call-in Inquiry. It has long been public knowledge that the Council had to meet its own costs in relation to the Call-in Inquiry to maintain its independence and impartiality as Local Planning Authority.
The letter from Phillip Goodwin to Andrew Pelling MP was part of a chain of correspondence which related to the costs of the CPO Inquiry and the position in relation to those costs is as stated in that letter and the latest Council question dealing with the issue to which the Croydon Guardian advert is referring, i.e. the costs of the CPO Inquiry are being met by CCRLLP.
For your information, I attach a copy of that Council Question and the Answer given to it.
Cllr Tim Pollard"
Here is the text of the attachment that Tim sent:
from Councillor Avril Slipper
RE Could the Cabinet Member please tell me if he is aware of the cost of the Gateway Enquiry, and who is paying the bill?
The final cost to the Council of the Gateway public inquiry is likely to be in the region of £180,000, although I am unable to provide an exact cost at present because all invoices in relation to the inquiry have not yet been provided.
However, the majority of the cost of the inquiry is being met by Central Croydon Regeneration Limited Liability Partnership (CCRLLP), the partnership between Arrowcroft and Frogmore. CCRLLP is meeting the cost of presenting their case at the Call-in inquiry and is also meeting the total cost of the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry, as under the terms of the Development Agreement the Council has with CCRLLP, the latter is obliged to pay all the Council’s CPO costs.
The Council needed its own QC, legal advice and consultants to present the Council’s case at the Call-in inquiry, which makes up the £180,000 figure referred to above."
I then asked Tim what the difference is between the "call in inquiry" and the "CPO inquiry". Here is his answer:
The Inspector heard three separate Inquiries, back to back. One was the call in of the Planning Permission, one was for the CPO itself, and the last was for the stopping up of part of Lansdowne Road. At the call in, the evidence heard related to the technical planning aspects of the scheme and it is broadly similar to any other planning permission inquiry, albeit on a grander scale. It's outcome is the granting (or refusal) of Planning Permission.
The CPO Inquiry tests whether the Council is correct in its desire to CPO the land and evaluates the suggested public good against the requirements of the Circular which outlines the conditions required for a successful CPO. It's outcome is the confirmation (or not) of a CPO.
Although it was the same Inspector and many of the key witnesses and Counsel are the same, the two Inquiries are quite separate, hearing different evidence and were separated by a recess of one week. They could have been held months apart, but it suited all parties to conjoin them.
Cllr Tim Pollard"
So there we are, Croydon council have not incurred any costs re the CPO for the arena and the council is determined to maintain its independence and impartiality as a Local Planning Authority.
I would like to venture one very modest observation; had the council not backed the arena there would be no "call in inquiry", and hence the council would not have needed to spend £180K of our money on it.