Talacre Park: those missing millions
27 August, 2020 — By John Gulliver
SENIOR councillors and influential Labourites have been drawn into the growing row over the dismal failure of the town hall to collect an unpaid debt of millions following an agreement with a developer over a block of flats built in Talacre Park, Kentish Town.
A councillor said the council was still looking into another unpaid debt over the sale of sports grounds in Barnet and that as far as the “overage” method of payment covering the Talacre block of flats was concerned, the town hall would structure it differently in future – and that in any case the council would always seek to recover a debt. His statements seemed heavy with political spin.
Under the overage system an agreement is made with the developer that the price paid at first for the sale of the land will be “topped up” when all the flats have been sold and the final net profit can be evaluated.
Several London councils have reached successful overage agreements with developers and money owed has been paid. But in Camden’s case, a debt estimated to run into several millions remains unpaid for more than 15 years since the Talacre block was completely sold off.
Nothing was done about the bad debt until a lone resident Nick Harding exposed the shenanigans through this column a few weeks ago. Now alarm bells are sounding – and a full report is being prepared by council officials for two senior councillors to study. Whether it will raise the right questions – who, if anyone it will blame, how much of it will be made public? – still remains unknown.