At the Westminster Council meeting on Wednesday 19th January Labour will expose the shocking extent to which Boris Johnson’s flagship Conservative administration have been wasting residents’ money and taking them for fools. The Council spends a lot of time spinning its record in power but Labour’s motion sets out in stark detail its litany of failure that has wasted or put at risk £160 million of taxpayers money.
This role call of shame includes the infamous £6 million Marble Arch Mound, over £18 million spent on Oxford Street Consultants (including £220k per year for the guy who created and ran the Mound), £2 million pumped into the failed Sir Simon Milton University Technical College, £20 million spent on Oxford Street, £32 million being spent on Strand-Aldwych without any contributions from local landowners, and plans for the Council to build a £100m mega casino with your money near Leicester Square.
Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are taking Westminster residents for fools by wasting their money on poorly thought through vanity projects-like the £6m Marble Arch Mound-and ideological boondoggles.
This tired Council has become arrogant, out-of-touch and incompetent. It’s time for a change, to elect a Labour Council that will put residents’ priorities first.”
Labour’s motion for the January 19th Full Council
This Council acknowledges the embarrassment caused to Westminster residents by the failed Marble Arch Mound, its unexpected £6 million pound cost to local taxpayers, as well as the political and management failures exposed by the Council’s internal review.
This Council notes the significant delays in delivering promised improvements to the Oxford Street District. £20 million has so far been spend on consultants while little has changed on the ground, even though this time hasn’t been used to properly consult residents on important measures such as the Oxford Circus piazzas.
This Council notes the slow progress in obtaining private sector support for schemes in the Oxford Street District and the failure to obtain substantial contributions for other major capital projects such as the £32m Strand Aldwych scheme.
This Council notes the protracted discussions around the future of Huguenot House and concerns over emerging plans to turn it into a £100m casino.
This Council notes the use of CIL and Section 106 funding to support the poorly thought-out vanity projects such as the Sir Simon Milton University Technical College and the Minerva Free School
This Council believes the failures of the Marble Arch Mound project have damaged public confidence in Westminster Council’s ability to deliver major projects.
This Council believes it is imperative that public realm schemes which deliver increased property values for major landowners are properly supported with substantial financial contributions from those who stand to benefit, including ensuring the Oxford Street District project achieves at least matched funding against the Council’s contribution.
This Council resolves to commission an independent audit of its major capital projects to ensure taxpayers get value for money.
This Council further resolves to cease exploratory work on the conversion of Huguenot House into a casino.