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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

CNJ on Chalcots Estate

The Camden New Journal is going to town with an investigation into the evacuation of the Chalcots estate, including querying the role of PFI in refurbishing the Towers.  It is worth recalling that the PFI only became necessary because the "Decent Homes" money was turned down as part of the row rejecting ALMO status, a row I would see as a tragedy of misinformation.

The PFI scheme was then backed by, notably, Glenda Jackson who saw it as the only remaining way to secure decent housing for her constituents.  The CNJ is now querying whether more money should have been committed although a standard (and I think accurate) complaint about PFIs in general is that they offer poor value for money.  The Camden PFI was initially rejected for this very reason.

I have sympathy for decision makers who find themselves making these choices and then find themselves retrospectively attacked by the same people who criticised the original deal for opposite reasons.  Whilst it is still not public exactly why Camden took the dramatic decision to evacuate, it really does feel like a cheap shot to be constantly hostile but on widely differing grounds.  It is worth recalling that as far as is publicly known there may have been issue with the capital works at all.

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