Dear Ms McGonigal
On June 20th 2013, Cabinet agreed that officers would support the current leaseholders of the Victoria Pavilion in "commercially marketing on the open market of the lease for the Royal Victoria Pavilion". The report to the Cabinet also stated that the marketing process would be "open and transparent, whilst ensuring best value and probity for the Authority". I recall that I spoke at that meeting and strongly supported the open and transparent management of the marketing exercise as a way of ensuring fairness for organisations wishing to express an interest in taking on the lease of this important building and ensuring that the Council achieves best value in the broadest socio-economic sense.
I am now led to believe that the marketing process which followed this decision might not have been as open and transparent as Cabinet and the Council agreed. From information I have received I do not believe that any serious efforts have been made to market the lease and I do not believe that the Council's insistence upon an open and transparent marketing exercise has been adhered to.
I therefore request that the Council as the freeholder does not agree the assignation of any new lease until a full investigation has been carried out into its marketing.
In the meantime under the Freedom of Information Act please provide me the following
1. Full details of the commercial marketing exercise of the lease of the Victoria Pavilion including copies of adverts placed the dates of placement and the media in which the adverts were placed.
2. Copies of notes of meetings between Council officers, the current leaseholders and/ or their agents regarding the commercial advertising of the lease.
3. Copies of any other notes or reports, or e-mails in possession of the Council about the marketing of the Pavilion in the past 12 months.
It would be a very serious matter if the current leaseholder is unable to demonstrate that it fully complied with the wishes of the Cabinet in relation to the disposal of the lease. it would be highly improper if the current leaseholder has manipulated the disposal of the lease so as eliminate competition and prevent the Council from being able to review a range of options which might maximise best value.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter
Councillor Ian Driver