Politics

Developer boss loaned £200 million by Croydon Council resigns

The boss of a controversial development company owned by Croydon Council has announced he is stepping down.

Colm Lacey has been the chief executive of Brick by Brick since it was founded in 2016.

Croydon Council owns the company and has lent it £200 million. This was noted by auditors as contributing to the council being forced to declare bankruptcy in November 2020.

The council did have plans to sell off the company.

But in July it decided to keep ownership of Brick by Brick and develop 23 of the 29 sites where construction work has already begun – all bar one is set to be completed this financial year.

The council has plans to sell off other sites with planning permission as part of a “wind down” of the business.

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It comes two weeks after councillors demanded to see missing documents relating to the Fairfield Halls refurbishment which the firm was responsible for.

The project included a refurbishment to the arts venue and was paid for by a £69 million loan from the council. Taxpayers could now ending up footing that bill.

Mr Lacey said: “With the council opting for a managed wind-down of company activities, it feels appropriate for me to step down after helping the company transition into its final phase.

“I will leave with excitement for the future, confident that the Brick By Brick development programme will continue to provide much-needed high-quality housing in Croydon, and stand as testament to the fact that good architecture and principled urbanism are possible even when budgets are tight.”

And Croydon Council has welcomed his decision to resign.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We have been clear that Brick by Brick needed to take a new direction and we welcome the decisions taken by the new directors to restructure and re-focus the company’s work.

“It is right that this new direction comes with new leadership as Brick by Brick seek to deliver over 700 new homes and wind up the company.”


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