WHO ARE THEY?
by David Kenyon
Harold Ross, the legendary editor of the New Yorker, was famous for the close scrutiny he gave to pieces submitted for inclusion in his magazine. If he was not familiar with any name mentioned his practice was to write Who They? in the margin alongside the offending name and return the copy to the author.
I feel the same way about London & Regional Properties Ltd. or rather I did. Amidst the uproar which has followed from Bromley Council's decision to promote and drive through a large commercial leisure centre on the site of the former Crystal Palace, against the wishes of the majority of the people who live in the surrounding area, one vital player in this drama has been silent: London &Regional Properties Ltd., the developer.
I thought the public ought to know something about the company which proposes to put up a building which. if it goes ahead, will profoundly affect the lives of the people in the Crystal Palace area. So I decided to see what I could find out. In particular I as interested in how the proposed development was to be financed and to see what buildings the company had previously put up. The company is not listed in the Financial Times and does not appear in Kelly's Director,. a standard business reference work. Eventually, I was guided by a helpful librarian to Key British Enterprises 1998 which y ielded an entry for London & Regional Properties Ltd. The entry is brief but includes the following information:
Registered office 40 New Bond Street. London W1Y 9HB
Telephone () 171 499 4060
Private limited company
Line of Business - Property investors
Issued Share Capital £12
Financial year end 30 September
Financial results for the vear ended 30-09-96
Net Worth £174,976
Working Capital (£13,604)
Number of Employees 8
Ideally, I would have wished to see the company's annual report but as a private limited company this document is not available to the public and the only information publically available is contained in the annual return which includes particulars of the registered office names of directors and company secretary. However, private limited companies do not have to file accounts at Companies House and have them available for inspection at their registered office.
It was time to phone L&RP. So I did and asked to make an appointment to inspect their accounts. After speaking to a junior member of staff I found myself speaking to Mr Jim O'Donnell who described himself as Project Manager. His attitude to me and my request was guarded and suspicious. He refused to make an appointment then and there and asked me to put my request in writing. I have done so. My phone call was not entirely in vain. I did find out that the latest accounts available are those for the year ended 30 September 1997. The accounts for 1997-98 were said to be being prepared.
I will keep readers informed of my progress.
(drawing of "The proposed entertainment centre at the top of
Crystal Palace Park)