2,393 signed petition
to the PM to prevent any sale of AP
In 2008 the Save Ally Pally online petition
attracted 2,393 signatures by its closing date on
February 27. Although the High Court blocked a proposed
sale to a developer, Firoka Ltd., the overall trustee,
the London Borough of Haringey, had still not publicly
or finally abandoned its policy of flogging Ally
Pally entire. SAP thanks all those who signed.
The petition wording:
We the undersigned petition the
Prime Minister to instruct Haringey Council not
to sell Alexandra Palace to a property developer.
Save Ally Pally!
For more information click on:
of the judgment Last
Transcript of the judgment of the judicial review
held before the high court on the 5th of October
2007, is available from here.Read
the full High Court of Justice judgment pdf
The High Court
has blocked the disposal of Alexandra Palace on a 125-year lease to a developer
reason for the challenge
The Court agreed
with Claimant Jacob O’Callaghan on behalf of SaveAllyPally.com
campaign, represented by David Wolfe of Matrix, that the decision by the Commission
to authorize the sale by Haringey was unfair. The Palace is governed by a
Parliamentary statute, and a Minister had promised MPs that prior to the decision
objectors would be fully consulted. This "consultation" was "fatally
flawed" because the Commission never published the proposed lease and
project agreement referred to with their draft Order, or any details, so that
no-one could make a meaningful response about exactly what was proposed.
What parts of the park and palace would be leased and what parts
maintained as an public space available for the free use and recreation
of the public? How would the maintenance of the park be financed,
once the trust lost the asset of the palace, that has financed
the park maintenance so far? What assurances if any were given
to preserve the heritage and historic elements of the Palace,
such as the first TV studios and broadcasting mast?
The proceedings were
an application to the administrative court for a “judicial review”
of the Charity commission decision/Order.
Read more here
What's going on at
NB This site was created to inform people during the successful 2007 High Court challenge to the plans to sell off Alexandra Palace to a commercial developer to turn it into a casino.
UPDATE: The trustees Haringey Council are currently (as of March 2018) planning major changes to how the charity is governed. We will update this site as we learn the details...
Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill, designed by the Victorians
as the People's Palace for educational recreation, music, sport and entertainment,
a landmark north London rival to the Crystal Palace, and in 1936 birthplace
of television, has lasted 130 years and survived two fires. And, in 1900,
it literally became the People's Palace because by Act of Parliament it was
given to the people of London, with its Park, in trust for all time.
Is it run as a charity?
Since one single council, Haringey, took over the charity in
1980, important decisions have in practice been mostly made by Alexandra Palace's
senior paid officers, not the elected trustees - who have now been largely
reduced to rubber-stampers of already made decisions. For thirty years, the
Palace had been run as if it were a commercial exhibition business and conference
centre set in a municipal park, and the charitable aspects have been quietly
TV studio A at Alexandra Palace, set-
up for Cafe Continental
Senior council officers, and senior Palace management, through
their lawyer, used to tell the councillors and the charity commission that
Ally Pally charitable trust would be insolvent but for council support, and
has never balanced its books in living memory, so the whole building should
be disposed of. They also claimed that the developer's commercial activities
(including a casino) would still be "charitable in a modern sense"
and should be free of all that red tape. But the truth is out there - and
it's a little ... different. Visit Selling
the Palace page for more information.
You mean it hasn't really been continually losing money!
No-as documents on this site prove. To get their consent for
the sale, the councillors and charity commission were solemnly assured by
the charity's solicitor that "this is a
charity which has not, within living
memory, ever balanced its books". This idea
was repeated again and again - even getting as far
as a Parliamentary committee. Great soundbyte; only
trouble is it's complete bunkum. About as true as
the gypsy's curse. According to the real audited
accounts, the charity has, both before it was transferred
to Haringey and even after, often not just balanced
its books but actually made surpluses.
Needless to say, the charity's solicitor,
Iain Harris of Howard Kennedy, should never have
made this statement to the charity commission if
he knew it to be false. Visit Palace
Accounts page for more information
Developing the potential inside.
This is outrageous ... but what
can be done to stop any sale?
There has been no shortage of efforts. 320 people and organizations
from all over Britain and the world wrote to the charity commission objecting.
So did the local MP, Lynne Featherstone. And the Hornsey Historical Society
and the BBC have asked English Heritage for the Grade II listing to be upgraded
to protect the historic studios, which under the new owner's plans would disappear...
but the commission just ignored the protests, and agreed to the deal.
If necessary, the High Court will
be asked if any sale, or long lease for non-charitable
purposes, is consistent with the 1900
Act which made Ally Pally a charity. Visit the
Challenge page to find out more
Transcript of the High Court Judgment
Last updated 31.10.0
Transcript of the Judgment of the judicial review held before the high court
on the 5th of October, is now published Read
the full judgment pdf 237k
Mr Justice Sullivan’s comments:
On the promise to consult | P 23
Moreover, it has to be interpreted in such a way as to make sense
of the promise that there would be consultation on how beneficial interests
should be protected, rather than to make a nonsense of that assurance and
to make it ineffective.
On the need for
information | P 25
Any reasonable person asked to comment on a draft order giving trustees
that power, ……would be bound to say: "Show me the
lease and the agreement, and then I will be able to answer your
question", or at the very least they would say: "If for
some reason you are unable to show me the lease and the project
agreements themselves, then at least tell me sufficient about them
to enable me to form a view about whether entering into them would
be expedient in the interests of the trust".
On the need for fairness | P 27
I find it difficult to understand how the Commission could have
thought that this was a fair process. One would have thought that
the alarm bells would be ringing loud and clear,….
On confidentiality and fairness | P 30
The Commission, in apparently changing its position and giving the
assurance sought by the Trustees that the lease would not be made
public, appears to have lost sight of the need for there to be an
effective and fair consultation in line with the minister's assurance.
On the need for
disclosure by the trustees | P 31
….but it (the Charity Commission) was under an obligation
to ensure that those who were consulted had sufficient information
to be able to make a meaningful response to the question: should
consent be given to the Trustees entering into this particular lease…?
Palm Court exhibition in January 2006 and why this
was not sufficient information | 33
…. it is clear that what Firoka were presenting at that stage
proposals, and indeed in a subsequent report they were correctly
described by the general manager of the Trustees as "outlined
It was clear that the detail would be worked up later, and it is
the extensive documentation in the bundle that there was a lengthy
period of negotiation, and that there were various versions of the
At the end of the day what mattered was not what was shown in outline
at the exhibition in January 2006, but what had been finally agreed
incorporated into the lease and the project agreement in November
and it is clear from the documents that changes had occurred over
intervening months …
On the final
date for agreement | P 38
If the lease is not signed by 17 November [sic]
- the date should be 17 October. then Firoka will be entitled
to treat the Trustees as being in fundamental breach…
threat to walk away | 40
It is interesting to note that Mr Kassam does not state in terms
if full disclosure had been required, he would have walked away,
that he would have given serious consideration to doing so. Moreover,
his expressed concern, at least in his witness statement, is about
disclosure in full. It says nothing about the extent to which he
have been persuaded to agree to some form of redacted disclosure,
summary or gist of what had been agreed. So if one looks at the
as it emerges from the horse's mouth rather than second hand, some
the submissions made by Mr Hickman on behalf of the Trustees as
likely outcome of relief being given in this case are not made out.
ruling | P 44
I grant the relief sought. I grant a declaration that the Order
is unlawful, and I quash the Order.
Arguing about who should pay the costs:
Mr Wolfe for
JOC | P 52
Before the proceedings it was their (the Trustees) pushing
of the Commission on the question of disclosure which led to the
position we now find ourselves in….So, I do ask that the court
make an order that the Trustees pay the claimant's costs,
Mr Hickman for
the Trustees | P 58
We are an innocent party to this…..
we say that there was a mistake on the part of Mr Harris….
Judge to Mr
Hickman | P 69
Someone is trying to instruct you. You are being prodded from behind,
or will be.
Mr Wolfe on
disclosure | P 73
So the Commission was open minded...and it was the Trustees
who piled in… putting heavy pressure on them not to do so.
Mr Wolfe summing
up | P 76
So, my Lord, whichever way one looks
at it,… in my submission it has been the Trustees in the end
in the driving seat.
final words | P 82
...it is clear that the claimant ought to recover his costs. in
large measure the Trustees are the authors of their own misfortune,
but they have been ably assisted and abetted, I am afraid, by the
Commission. In reality, the running today was made very largely
by the Trustees, …but again I bear in mind that they are not
the decision-making body; that of course is the Commission…they
were both equally to blame for this unfortunate set of circumstances,
so the proper order for costs would have been a 50/50 order.