The judicial review hearing on the sale of the 24 items of the Croydon Riesco Chinese Ming porcelain Collection will be heard in the week of 11 November.
A group of residents decided to challenge the sale are raising money towards the costs via their website.
Charlotte Davies, the Chair of the South Croydon Community Association, has agreed to be the named individual taking the action. Charlotte explains why below.
Donations continue to be urgently required to reach the target of £20,000.
Donations of all sizes are needed, but clearly if 100 people felt able to contribute £50, then £5,000 could be quickly raised. For payments through your bank see below.
Do you know
· any artists who might be prepared to donate a piece of their work for a fundraising auction?
· anyone on a very high salary who would be willing to make a large donation
If you are active in an organisation which is meeting over the next few days, would you make a collection among your members/audiences? If 1,000 people donated £1 each, that would be £1,000.
Are you a regular in a pub and would ask customers you know to contribute?
For the latest news see:
The Auction in Hong King
Christies are holding an auction of the Riesco items in Hong Kong on 27 November. Their website has not yet put up the catalogue but it indicates that viewing times there will be on each day from 21-26 November. This suggests the items are being shipped there. This suggests they will need to be insured – for how much? And they may need a temporary licence. If the hoped for sale sum is achieved how much of that sum will be taken by Christies fees and commission? If they are sold to an overseas buyer will a permanent export licence be required?
Charlotte explains why she agreed to take the action
The Riesco Collection Judicial Review, why do it?
A group of residents who want to remain anonymous got together funds to challenge the sale, they asked me to front the legal challenge as they saw me as an apolitical community leader – so I agreed.
The challenge came because people who have followed this debate have been shocked by our Council’s attitude towards:
a. The Arts;
b. Local democracy;
c. Compliance with public ethics.
The fund from the Riesco sale is supposed to be going to the Fairfield Halls. It may well be, but as I stated before always ask in Croydon: “who is actually going to benefit”?
Fairfield Halls has two parts to its website:
a. the nearly impossible to follow Arts side: http://www.fairfield.co.uk
b. the rather sharper Fairfield Hospitality site: http://www.fairfieldhospitality.com
South Croydon Community Association have visited the Fairfield Halls to look at the facilities and discuss with the management the problems. We have offered to help sort out the communications problems – nothing ever happened. After a bit you start to realise there is no real intention to create a buzzing Arts scene around Fairfield Halls, if there was there would already be:
Arts activities on the forecourt, not a car park;
Community activities, exhibitions, rehearsals going on throughout the building in its many empty rooms and halls;
Attempts would be made to establish a year-long varied programme of Arts activities combining community groups with a few big name events;
Arts groups and audiences would be welcomed and encouraged – but in fact there are a long stream of complaints about high charges and inefficient management.
Nothing is really being done to make Fairfield Halls a viable Arts venue. It might be going to be invested in with our money – but unless there is a massive change in strategy we will not substantially benefit.
We have to stop Croydon Council believing that they can operate with absolutely no public accountability.
This is a neat open and shut case; documents have been leaked that clearly show the Councillors and the Officers of the Council understood the full implications of their actions before making the decision to go ahead with the sale. The Museums Association has publicity made complaints about the Council’s behaviour and the breach of the Museum’s Association ethical code. The Arts Council funding agreement has clearly been breached. If we win we will get our costs back.
I urgently need more resources to ensure that we can see this challenge through to the end – please can you make a contribution to the fund. A fund that is basically about ethics and accountability – about opposing anarchy: whether it is people in offices, or rioting on the streets – it is no different it deprives our people of opportunities for development and social cohesion. The fund is being managed by SCCA and contributions can be made to:
South Croydon Community Association (Riesco Fund);
Account no: 11490948;
Sort code: 23-05-80.
Alternatively drop off contributions at my house 17 Temple Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1HU.
Let’s come together to build Croydon into the community that the vast majority of residents desire: one with high aspirations; empowered and informed citizens; and respect for all.
South Croydon Community Association
2 November 2013