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Michael Ball

Recent activity

Comments (45)

  • Comment on: Leading Scottish architect slams PFI over hospitals crisis

    Michael Ball's comment 23 September, 2019 11:19 am

    Why is this scandal still going on and so poorly understood? We are coming up to the 20th anniversary of the succesful campaign to see off a PFI of Pimlico School - a campaign strongly supported by the AJ - where parents, staff and governors saw off what should have been the first PFI 'pathfinder' in schools, backed by Blunkett and led by Jack Straw, chair of governors, until he was defenestrated.

    The gross inappropriateness and clear perniciousness of PFI was obvious to us then - negotiating inches on the widths of corridors and the serving temperature of school dinners in a 35 year contract when what we needed was £10m to address the 30-year backlog of repairs.

    We thought we were fighting for all schools and public buildings, that the news would get out and the people would rise up, that the administrators and politicians would respond rationally, Blair's 'what works'... Huh! As if. A merry prelude to todays political bonfire.

  • Comment on: Mayor rejects ‘unwelcoming, poorly designed’ Tulip

    Michael Ball's comment 17 July, 2019 3:35 am

    Hooray - the Fatuous Days are over!

    This is a kind of 'reverse Garden Bridge' move, by which Sadiq signals he is serious about sorting out our city rather than waving through every waif of self-referential nonsense. The reasons - rubbish at ground, impact on views, serves no real purpose or public good, sustainability - could all be applied to many of the tall buildings Sadiq has waved through, but we should rejoice at his Damascene conversion, not complain that he didn't convert earlier.

    But why is Paul Finch so grumpy? Is his obsessive moaning for 'fun' a kind of reverse virtue signalling??

  • Comment on: IMAX cinema and 12-year-old British Library addition among at-risk buildings

    Michael Ball's comment 10 July, 2019 11:08 am

    Lambeth owns the freehold of the IMAX site and agreed a few months ago to spend £500k on feasilibity for a tall building as the 'apex' of the emerging cluster... costs to be shared with TfL, who own the freehold of the land surrounding the IMAX and have been 'consulting' for the last 18 months on the peninsularisation of the IMAX, which will create an even more log-jammed junction, but is worth millions to both authorities in terms of real estate.

    The only saving grace is that this is a piece of feather-in-her-cap flotsam from Sue Foster (the key champion of the Garden Bridge at Lambeth, but who was recently 'let go' and has washed up at RBKC responsible for Grenfell) and her Lambeth underling Sandra Roebuck, who has subsequently moved sideways... So, as usual, the hope is that Lambeth will incompetently defend the indefensible long after the caravan has departed, marching to the drum of its collective amnesia

  • Comment on: Garden Bridge failure should be likened to Kids Company scandal, MPs told

    Michael Ball's comment 12 June, 2019 1:19 pm

    The beneficiaries of Kids Company were some very deprived children in South London. The beneficiaries of the Garden Bridge Trust were supposed to be... What? Thomas' glittering career? Boris and assorted senior officers at TfL and Lambeth Council who looked to be getting significant feathers in their caps?

    And who were the beneficiaries of Boris' beneficence? Who got the £43m of wasted public funds? Bouygues, who got £20m for a cancelled construction contract; Arup, who got £9m for an engineering and design contract; and Heatherwick, who got a significant portion of Arup's fee as a design sub-contractor.

    TfL clearly believe that if they repeat the same nonsense people will believe it: but, as the AJ has demonstrated, £9m of public funds should not have been doled out to the Garden Bridge Trust since at least two of the six conditions of payment had NOT been met - the GBT didn't have access to the land to build the bridge, or an implementable planning permission, or the funding to complete it, or the money to maintain and operate it. The truth is TfL paid out that money in Feb 16, the fag-end of Boris' tenure as Mayor, to render it far more difficult for Boris' successor to cancel the project - and Sadiq almost fell into the trap by initially announcing that it would be cheaper to complete the project than to cancel it... Luckily he then invited Hodge to investigate and found out otherwise. Why Sadiq hasn't sacked the TfL Commissioner for such incompetence or treachery is anyone's guess.

    Meanwhile the beneficent bounder Boris stalks the land, untroubled by his cavalier deceit - indeed he fashioned the current political crisis with his cavalier deceit over Brexit, and is currently proposing his candidacy as Premier on a similar cavalier deceit. Can no one rid us of this troublesome fiend?

  • Comment on: Pilbrow & Partners reveals fresh plans for London Fire Brigade HQ overhaul

    Michael Ball's comment 8 May, 2019 10:16 pm

    And poor old U+I (strapline: "Regeneration Rethought"), who pride themselves on doing a good job, yet after two years of pre-app have managed to come up with a scheme which the Council have now designated a Departure Application...

    All applications depart from the plan, of course, but a Departure Application departs so incontrovertibly that there simply is no pretending otherwise. Although U+I will still try - senior 'nice guy' Richard Upton has been doing just that, denying that it was a Departure application - hasn't he talked to Lambeth?

    But it's hardly surprising since they've hardly talked to anyone - a shameless absence of meaningful consultation over the past two years: all that they managed were some drop-in exhibitions for a few hours every six months, advertised a few days in advance... And yet they knew that the Lifschutz scheme had been stopped by a well-organised community opposition, right through to public inquiry.

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