Friday, 27 September 2013

Isleworth Public Hall - Hounslow Council Feels the Pressure

The London Borough of Hounslow has made its first concession, albeit superficial, in the face of unexpected levels of pressure from the community over its plans to farm out Isleworth Public Hall to a commercial bidder.

Its deadline for submissions of management proposals, originally set at October 4th, has been extended to October 14th, and various questions from residents have been responded to (I hesitate to say answered) following criticisms that the original invitation for bids from LBH was too obviously geared towards commercial organisations in preference to community groups.

In a hilarious e-mail response to a local community activist one Isleworth ward councillor wrote (or more precisely cut-and-pasted): "The exercise is open to, and invites proposals from, all interested parties, particularly those from the local community. The process of the offer and application form is not presented in the usual procurement style or with the same complexities, but has been tailored as far as possible to make it simpler and accessible to wider groups and interests"

This "particular" interest in "proposals from the local community" is clearly demonstrated in the procurement document, which lists the following criteria:

Schedule 1 COMMERCIAL QUESTIONNAIRE (criteria pass/fail)

  1. Business Name 
  2. Registered or trading name. 
  3. Type of organisation (e.g. private limited organisation, partnership, sole trader) 
  4. Registered address
Nobody who is active in the Isleworth community is under any illusions at all about the direction of the Council's plans for Isleworth Public Hall, but we will continue to resist this assault on our community by every means possible.

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