Wednesday 17 December 2014

Kensal Rise Library fails to meet reserve price at auction

Kensal Rise Library put up for sale by owner Andrew Gillick, failed to meet the reserve price of £1.25m at auction today.

Two bidders stuck at £1.2m and when the reserve price was not reached were invited to meet up with Gillick's representative by Allsops the auctioneer.

Allsops were aware of controversies surrounding the sale and background documentation available for inspection, which was said to be about three inches thick, included the fact that 'caretakers' were on site.

Among those who attended the auction were Meg Howarth, Margaret Bailey of Friends of Kensal Rise Library and  Nathalie Raffray, a reporter from the Kilburn Times.

The auction was livestreamed to the public.

There is an update on the Save Kensal Rise Library website HERE

Late addition. Here is Brent Legal's view of the auction as sent to Friends of Kensal Rise in December 15th:



Anonymous said...

Seems like Gillick will not get his Christmas present after all.

Father Christmas only gives to those who give themselves.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Mr Gillick's seemingly desperation to sell, we have found out the option agreement authenticity is in question with doubts about date it was signed plus ASC have confirmed the OA was not signed where it should be signed.

The appropriate authorities can now investigate.

Anonymous said...

Bet you by tomorrow it is sold.

No one in their right mind would buy this in the auction...

Watch this space but then again we will never know until it is done

Anonymous said...

I am sure he will not starve.

Probably only pocket change to him and KR is up 30% or more since he bought it.....

Leave it there for another 2 years and it might be up another 30%

Cannot beat London property

Anonymous said...

LOL. That letter from ASC, written on the eve of the auction, seems like little more than face-saving in light of the dispute over ACV moratorium regulations, and the Option Agreement. It is intended to keep FKRL munching on to the promise of the 'D1 space' carrot. What does 'All Souls College intends to receive a lease' actually mean? Perhaps Thomas Seaman would explain for the benefit of readers of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Quick business plan:

1. brent council take back the library that they gave away
2. The convert upstairs into affordable renting / social renting
3. This money per month is then used to keep the Library open
4. Remainder goes towards council budget

Everyones a winner

Anonymous said...

Don't forget it seems like All Souls College did not inform Brent Council their intention to sell, so Brent could not notify community groups of the sale.

It might seem beaurocratic, but that is after the regulations and it would seem ASC are skating on thin ice if they are only relying on the Option Agreement as the reason not to inform Brent Council of their intention to sell when Brent recieved an application for listing. The application to list was actually in process by Brent before the alleged option agreement was signed.

Anonymous said...

Yet again twaddle from FKRL on their link update

There is no guarantee despite kind reassurances that any future purchaser will agree terms.

Dream on.

Anonymous said...

Clearly at least one other reader of WM attended the auction - the following was posted on the previous blog by Anonymous 17 December 2014 at 13:18

'Not sold

Top bid £1.2 million

No mention of ACV restrictions'.

Anonymous said...

This comment (and any others) would carry a lot more authority if readers knew who it was from or what/who the source of this information is. Otherwise it'll soon be back to the sort of 'what do you know?' stuff we've had over the last 4 days.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately for many of us technology means we get a front row seat in the comfort of our own home.

Marvelous what technology can do.

Beats going to auction room hands down. Plus you get a nice cup of tea.

Anonymous said...


Letter is worth nothing if any new owned does not agree to terms.

I hardly think someone who might spend a few million quid on purchase then redevelopment will give much away.

Those with money rarely give it away.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was good watching online.

Exciting !

Anonymous said...

OK, 19.46. Knuckles duly rapped - hope your one-up(wo)manship makes you feel better. Yours etc, 18.54.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 18:54 did not mean it to come across as one up on others.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I agree, 18.43.

FKRL's latest update - written after Lot 88 failed to reach its reserve price - fails to inform its readers/supporters of the controversy over the ACV listing or, indeed, of anything substantial other than the repeated commitment to a D1 space - which isn't secure. Printing an unsolicited letter from All Souls - who sold FKRL down the Swanny - demonstrates either the group's naivety or the massaging of its own ego. One would expect more from a registered charity with legal obligations.

Meg Howarth said...

Then show your ID, 19.11. You know how it goes: folk who live in greenhouses shouldn't mess with rocks. Lead, don't follow. That way you'll gain respect, and discourage the practice of unsubstantiated comment - which is, I agree, to be avoided.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but as the plutocrat in that tv sketch said, 'What's in it for me?'

Anonymous said...

Nice to see an outbreak of peace and love on this thread!

Anonymous said...

Link to the latest BKT report

Is the ACV moratorium period applicable, or not? That is the still officially unanswered question. It would be helpful if FKRL would update readers of the blog. I believe the group was advised by Brent on the situation two days before the auction.

Anonymous said...

What this result has done is created a nice little story for the developer to go to the council and say the planning is unviable.

How to make it viable?

Transform the D1 space into an apartment or two....

We are no closer to getting a library...

Anonymous said...

Good point. S106s - Deed of Agreement etc - are being challenged by developers/property speculators up and down the country, aided and abetted by Eric Pickles' Dept of Communities [LOL] and Local Government. If Gillick can't raise a sale at auction, pre-advertised weeks in advance, he's unlikely to raise one direct. Alison Hopkins was correct (on previous blog).

Anonymous said...

In view of Brents position it would seem a property owner can do as they Please.

Anonymous said...

Why, oh why, didn't FKRL share Cathy Robinson's letter, dated 2 days before the auction, with its supporters? It's December Update (link above) clearly falls short of what it claims to be - an update about, amongst other matters, the auction.

It now seems reasonable to assume that the unsolicited 'promissory' letter from Thomas Seaman was in response to Andrew Gillick's unsuccessful attempt to claim non-vacant possession of KRL building.

Anonymous said...

And what does 'All Souls College intends to raise a lease' really mean? Are we about to see the previously co-operating solicitors for the college and Gillick facing down one another over the pesky D1 space lease as set out in the S106 Deed of Agreement but, more importantly, in the Option Agreement which is once again in the unfavourable spotlight? Time for an update on the script 'Kensal Rise Library: a farce' in severals acts... Pens out, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Watch out, 14.23, for a ticking-off by the textually correct squad rushing to correct your mis-spelling of Kathy Robinson's name...

Anonymous said...

Perhap FKRL might now agree the best way forward is to challenge the sale between Gillick and ASC.

We can only but live in hope. This is what the majority of people in community wanted when this issue surrounding the option agreement first surfaced at the beginning of the year.

Anonymous said...

Ok Folks here you go.

I know people that know Mr Gillick and asked them to look into him. Here is the low down.

He is an entrepreneurial and industrialist chap always having a lot on and with the reputation of doing a lot of london developments, all pretty good quality. My man says he does the best developments in middle of the road locations.

My contract thinks he is worth £50 to 70 million. He is not an amateur and every property firm in town knows him and employs nearly 100 people. Indeed he was the biggest customer to the market leader a year ago.

Word on the street is he bought this to create a library and residential to pay for it but was bullied and harassed and so decided to leave it for another. Seems we really 7ucked up the partnership here.

I know some people will say here he should have done it for the community blah blah blah but he does not even live here.

I personally think we missed a great chance here. With Andrew Gillick my contact thinks we would have had a great library until some folk tried to intimate him.....

Anonymous said...

I would say a library is no closer.

Is you want to challenge the ACV etc get your check book out and deeds of your house- this cannot be done for free,

I am tired of air heads.

Anonymous said...

I bet FKRL knew about option agreement back in 2012 and they did nothing. Releasing information has been delayed on a number of occassions, until the last minute, so it has been difficult for the community to make informed decision.

Case in point FKRL responded to Gillicks notification on intention to sell on 24 Nov, before Brent Council has notified the community.

Anonymous said...

Seems like some folks relieve believe this utter rubbish.

Gillick had no intention of giving back to the community. Face up to it.

It does seem Gillick and co are giving a sob story about the community being against him and really they are all heart. I guess FKRL have falling for his charm and is why they now don't dare speak out of turn. I would suggest this type of behaviour falls within coercieve abuse !

It seems Trehaven Group who are financing Gillick are very upset they could not flip building onto someone else.

If they were so generous how about they just "Give" the building to the local community. Oh I forgot they want to make lots of money first.

If he had any intention he would not have even bothered to

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone have to be impressed with how much money someone may or may not have.

If Gillick had 50-70 million surely he can afford to just give the building away including a nice refurbishment.

If someone has 50 70 million it means someone doesn't have anything.

The sharing economy is about richer people giving to those who don't have.

Put your money where you mouth is Mr Gillick and share your wealth by giving it away to the poor community.

Anonymous said...

Link to the Localism Act 2011. I urge everyone who wishes to comment further on ACV matters to read sections 96 and 95, as referred to in Kathy Robinson's letter. Brent's interpretation may, of course, be open to a different legal view. As has been said previously, this is new legislation, and case-law is thin on the ground. But Anon 17 December 19.11 is correct - those who wish to comment on legal matters need to provide sources to back up their assertions. Ten lawyers in a room, ten interpretations, so let's do our homework, not just blast hot air, as Anon 22.00 says though, unlike 22.00, I don't think anyone on this blog is suggesting challenging ACV

Anonymous said...

As it was unsold - does it mean that they need to do the notification of sale limits as before? or could Gillick just sell tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

What is the headline here?


Anyone have a violin? Your contact maybe?

Anonymous said...

You can now see why fake emails will never be investigated further from the above.

Everyone now seems in awe and will not say a bad word against the developer for fear he will run away and sulk !

Anonymous said...

It seems to me promoting and even going so far as conducting a sale by way of a public auction during the moratorium period is not in the spirits of what "The Community" expected of the legislation.

It just goes to show, there is always a way around the law.

You can quote me as Anon : "If society returned to a level of respect and decency, we would not even need laws to save us from ourselves !"

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read the link to the latest BKT piece at 18 December 09.33, above.

Anonymous said...

Such drivel.

A new research study has found happier people are those who give more away than accumulate.

Perhaps Mr Gillick should try it. He might just win some friends and influence, if he started giving his alleged fortune away.

I bet he would feel a whole lot better just making a kind donation of the building to the community simply with his name above the door as a memory. What a kind person that would be.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I'm serenading you, not him, right now!

Anonymous said...

My heart bleeds for him !!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.27

Investigation of fake emails is now in hands of CPS - yes, I know... - but important to keep up the pressure for a decision. Shame on Brent, particularly Cllr Denselow, who inherited Roxanne Mashari's cabinet role with responsibility for libraries, for failing to update residents on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Well it now seems a very long time.

I am sure if they were going to do anything a out fake emails they would have done it by now.

Me thinks a cover up !

Anonymous said...

As per Anon 18 Dec 00:07

Pity the truce has only lasted a day.

I thought we were making progress, particularly with FKRL camp accepting some form of responsibility for this mess, as they did not listen to other peoples points of view at the beginning of the year.

Gillick has a material interest in swaying the community decision making process and on balance so far decisions have been more favourable to Gillick.

For example the entrance to the D1 space should be via the current central doors. But no that is reserved for the privileged flats. The D1 space has to make do with a new doorway that in fact significantly reduces the floor area of the D1 space as you need a lobby area free of obstruction where the new door is proposed.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget wealthy All Souls' role in this sorry money-making saga. It could easily have drawn up a new deed giving KRL back to Brent but chose Gillick instead on the grounds of maximising its assets for the benefit of its charitable status - it's been selling off some of its central London/other property portfolio over the last few years.

Could All Souls - full title 'The Warden and College of the Souls of all Faithful People Deceased in the University of Oxford -

really not see Gillick before they finally got in bed together?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

The entrance is not what people wanted and starts creating a divided community keep the lower class out of harms way.

Anonymous said...

If Mr Gillick is worth so much he can jolly well donate the building to the community.

After all his mate Cameron is all about "Volunteering"

Making a "Voluntary Contribution" of the building to the local community, might get him a knighthood or peerage. Now isn't that what friends are for !

Anonymous said...

I personally think this email thing was a whole sham by a few locals.

I know a few people who were lobbing in objections by the shed load with others details, made up and real. It would not have taken much for them to put in supports and then cry wolf. Then blame the developer and say the application should be made invalid.

Clearly didn't work to any degree.

Personally i dont think a guy worth £70m is going to be on the internet supporting a small application like this. More like a few locals working together.... you know who you are.

Anonymous said...

Everyone here wants something for nothing.

That doesn't happen.

Gillick here took a risk bought a derelict building and got planning. could build might build, could sell, could land bank we don't know.

He did well and is likely to double his money. He did nothing wrong, The council closed the library not All Souls and not Gillick.

Well done that Gent!

Anonymous said...

Anon 22.00 may be 'tired of air-heads' but I'm tired of naysayers who shoot pellets at others but never come up with practical or positive suggestions of ways forward.

Anonymous said...

Bish bash bosh! Been out for a Christmas lunch by any chance .....?

Anonymous said...

The pro-Gillick camp on the march, I see - Anon 14.11 and 14.27 above.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if the two auction bidders met with Alsopp's agent to discuss an out-of-room sale as suggested by the auctioneer? Alas, it seems, FKRL closed itself off from public debate a long time ago, so are unlikely to provide a further update.

Anonymous said...

What would be good if FKRL come out at say that got it wrong.

I would have more empathy with an organization that can hold up their hand and accept agreeing to the planning permission has not resulted in the planned D1 space as was promised by the developer.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Gillick should not have been bidding for the library building in the first place.

I have no time for school bullies who think just because they might own something gives them the right to do as the please.

Offer the building at a public auction when ACV was trigger is just an insult to the community. Furthermore to ensure Brent would not put up any objections he claims the building is not vacant and is occupied getting around a few loop holes that might stand in his way.

Anonymous said...

But you it will be sold and unlikely we are ever going to find out about it until it is too late

Anonymous said...

I second this motion.

It would be a great New Years resolution if FKRL told the truth they got it wrong !!

Sadly very unlikely with the wall of silence.

Only info we get is last minute bits of information they have been sitting on.

Anonymous said...

I know the Kathy Robinson legalistic letter isn't an easy read but it's final paragraph is saying that it disagrees with Gillick's claim that the building isn't in vacant possession. Its previous para, however, says that the auction/sale during the moratorium period is permissible under ACV regs as the sale is a 'conditional' one - the condition being that the 'caretakers' Gillick tried to claim as proof of non-vacant possession will leave on completion of the sale.

Anonymous said...

I am taking bets on what will happen in 2015

Revised application with entirely residential and no D1 Space
A. Developer sells
B. FKRL get their library
C. Other user goes in to the space
D. Land banked

Answers to Meg please on a postcard ...

Anonymous said...

As an outsider I'm astonished by the degree of impassioned engagement in this matter. For so many people to get so emotionally committed to matters surrounding the future of what is, after all, a book-lending facility is really quite heartening. And, apart from the odd bit of Farage-level muttering, almost all contributors seem well-informed and eloquent.

What I don't understand, however, is the degree of ill-feeling that's communicated. Is there something else going on here, something a non-resident wouldn't understand? Are you all, in fact, still simply discussing the (probable) loss of a library or has the library become a symbol and a battlefield for other resentments?

I'm not trying to stir things up, simply seeking enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

He can afford to lunch. He probably works hard. Do you I wonder?

Well if there are rules and he didn't break them. The ACV rule is clear, does not apply to occupied buildings and the lights are on its occupied.

Either way he owns the library and can do what he want with it.

Just like you own your shirt and if you want to cut the sleeves off and make it a tank top you can.

Welcome to the free world.

Love and Peace to All and a Rolls Royce to some....

Anonymous said...

Pretty clear here for ACV to apply building has to be sold with vacant possession.

Isn't looking too Vacant tonight.... a Christmas party is taking place.

Turkey with all the trimmings is what i hear. Plenty of fine claret to wash it down.

Got to laugh.

Anonymous said...

And for the avoidance of doubt, here's a link to the S106 agreement aka Deed of Agreement

Another difficult read - who needs lawyers? - but the important points re the D1 space are

- it's not reserved for a library;
- nowhere is FKRL or a lease mentioned in relation to the space - see First Schedule, Covenants by Owner. That would breach the ACV regs.

So All Souls nonsense about 'raising a lease' remains precisely that unless the college believes it has the legal upper hand - with the controversy over the Option Agreement, that seems most unlikely.

I agree with the poster somewhere above, Gillick has made all the running to date, and there are currently no obstacles in his way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the third sentence from the end. It's all become clear to me now.

Anonymous said...

This platitude generator is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Sadly my friend I suggest good old fashioned politics is at play.

Brent Labour secured a huge majority in May elections with lots and lots of promises.

Now Brent Labour can't deliver on their promises including Kensal Rise library and FKRL have become the meat in the sandwich, as they sided with Brent Labour and agreed the planning application.

If FKRL had stood firm on the issues surrounding fake emails, a dodgy option agreement and had opposed the planning application and loss of D1 space, rather than caving in to the developer there would not be so much resentment.

If for example the developer was forced to provide the equivalent D1 floor space, he might have had second thoughts about purchasing the building in the first place. The lose of D1 space is like loosing green space.

Anonymous said...

Surely the community should be invited.

Oh I forgot the privileged few only !

Anonymous said...

Anon 16:59

My reading of KR letter indicates Gillick's letter to Brent would have claimed the building is occupied.

What would be interesting to know is Business Rate implications when a building is occupied by security guards and actually living in the premises.

I bet Gillick is claiming Rate relief as it seems Rate relief applies to listed buildings.

Brent Council should review the implications particularly as Brent Council is short of money and Gillick seems to have recently issued a letter to Brent Council claiming the building is occupied.

Perhaps Brent Council for once can trip up Gillick on a technicality.

Anonymous said...

Well lets put some obstacles in his way and show he can't just stomp around doing has he pleases.

If their are guards minding the building, parties should not be permitted.

Having a private party in a building that should not belong to him makes me ill.

Anonymous said...

Its by invitation only.

Just like all good parties

Anonymous said...

Surely there was something odd about the auction bids - both bidders stopped at £1.2m. What's an extra 50k (to make the reserve price) if you're serious about wanting to buy the fine Victorian building that is Kensal Rise Library? Was there an agreement beforehand not to outbid one another, to play an auction system which starts below the reserve price, and to prevent a sale by never reaching the reserve price? Yes, there'd be a risk that an outlier/Russian oligarch could push up the bid, but some risks are worth taking if there's an underlying strategy at play. If there was, then it clearly worked.

Anonymous said...

What !!!

You think Gillick is not even paying Council Tax and yet they can sleep and do as they please in this community building. While I have to scrape together thousands per year.

Yet again the rich do not contribute while the poor are fed the scraps.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was odd.

Perhaps the bidders were actually phantom bidders, just to get things going.

Obviously they could not bid any higher as a phantom has no intention of actually purchasing such a fine building.

I would not be surprised if they were phantom bidders. Even less interest if they were phantoms.

Anonymous said...

My reading of Kathy Robinsons letter is that the sale was permitted under ACV regulations as it was due for completion after the moratorium period. However any sale at auction requires a (non-refundable) deposit to be paid on the spot - effectively this is an exchange of contracts and cannot be cancelled without the buyer forfeiting the deposit.

I would interpret this as a binding agreement even if the completion is scheduled for May 2015 when the moratorium has expired. Could we mount a legal challenge to Brent's interpretation?

Details of Allsops auction guide, including requirement to pay 10% deposit, here:
Page 4.

Anonymous said...

Very good point.

I think you are correct as it is a binding agreement, if the hammer had fallen.

It gives some credibility to the suggested post above of phantom bidders, as being the only bidders.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 18.01/18.36. I'd never heard of a phantom bidder until now.

Anonymous said...

It is not clear when FKRL contacted Brent, but it would appear it was very last minute.

I would have thought FKRL would have submitted their objection and questions surrounding the legality of the sale by Public Auction on 24 November 2014, the day they notified Brent their intention to bid.

However this does not seem to be the case and blindly FKRL seems to have gone along with Gillick without questioned the legality of the sale, until yet again the public outcry was load and clear.

Anonymous said...

Listed buildings don't pay rates if they are empty genius!

Rates and council tax are different

How do we know what tax he is paying?

Anonymous said...

Just like you can walk around with a bottle of vodka naked in your 1 bedroom flat. The residents of the former library can do what they want...they just have a lot more space to do what they want....

Think you will find the library does belong to him precious.

Anonymous said...

The latest posts about the auction, starting 17.48, are excellent. WM at its very best.

Anonymous said...

I believe a contract becomes legally binding on the falling of an auctioneers gavel.

The date of completion would be irrelevant as a bidder at auction who has had their bid accepted as the last and final bid above the reserve price by the fall of the gavel is the legal purchaser. The seller can't then wriggle out of the contractual obligations of sale at auction, such as might happen with "gazumping," where an offer is not legally binding.

The falling of the gavel in summary sets in train a legally binding sale that neither party can break.

You can now see why there has been such an outcry in the past week. The longer term implications for ACV listed buildings needs to be considered with penalties issued to owners when they intentionally provoke a legally binding contract preventing the community from binding, as someone else has suggested.

Anonymous said...

Interesting recent article on phantom bidding link below. It is mainly online with Ebay etc with someone actually convicted, but I bet it also happens with property auctions. The temptation is great and might also be why the reserve price was increased just before auction the other day. Another one for PC plod to investigate !!!

Alison Hopkins said...

It is common practice and entirely legal for the auctioneer to act as a bidder up until just below the reserve price. So, it could well be that one bidder was the auction house, acting to ensure the reserve was approached and that the other was a real bidder.

Anonymous said...

Well actually he has got planning permission for residential and subject to council tax.

Commercial properties pay business rates.

If you ask me this grey area of so called security guards minding a building needs to be investigate and suggest Council Tax would be payable.

Anonymous said...

It might be common practice but it might contravene enterprise Act 2002.

As someone has pointed out there has recently been a prosecution.

Buyers are actually paying more than they would otherwise with Phantom Bidders.

A full investigation of this practice is needed. I bet an investigation uncovers property industry fraud on a massive scale.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alison. A bit of reality is always handy at times like this. Not as interesting as phantom bidders (on a quiet, discreet tv-broadcast auction!) but then the Radio 4 website is a lot duller on current problems than David Icke's.

Anonymous said...

Profit motive.

Trying to bid up prices to the reserve when reserve had been increased just before auction.

This practice has to be stamped out as it is pure and simple fraud and deception.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at Alison Hopkins defending phantom bidding. Like tax avoidance, it may well be legal but it certainly isn't ethical.

Anonymous said...

Alison - It could also be that both were phantom bidders, one of them from the auction house. I'd say it takes one to know one, and that is why the bidding didn't go higher than £1.2m.

Anonymous said...

Belated, but apology accepted, 20.28.

Anonymous said...

Are the two bidders visible on the live-stream? Have only looked at the first few minutes, and the camera is trained on the auctioneers. Maybe it scans the room later on.

Anonymous said...

But did you hear about the phantom library and librarian?

Anonymous said...

Just an update from the party in the library. The drinks are flowing and the food is hot and plentiful.

Mr G stopped by with few slabs of beer to tide us over. He looks after us well generous guy.

Interesting news he bought himself a few more libraries he enjoyed this one so much. One's in islington so not far.

I hope the music isn't too loud and we are not keeping you up.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

Well we better tell Islington any promises he makes will not come true.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed to see Alison Hopkins defending phantom bidding - 21.16 above.

Like tax evasion, the practice may be legal but it's certainly unethical.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Cameron's plan of moving wealth from local communities to private individuals is working.

Obviously why Gillick has been upset. So far he has not been able to profit on the deal.

Meg as you were at Auction did you see the bidders.

I think it would be worth an investigation ?

Anonymous said...

I bet Gillick will try and use Kensal Rise Library as an example to convince other boroughs to sell library buildings. Probably claiming a success, when the reality is poles apart.

We need to put a stop to this total destruction of Community Assets.

Our children will be the ones to suffer in the future when there are not any community facilities left.

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is actually legal.

Alison might be assuming it is legal as no body has previously challenged the practice apart from the recent eBay conviction as pointed out above.

Auction houses also have a vested interest to maximize the bidding price. The Auction environment is exciting and they might be playing on the emotions to get people to part with more money than a buyer could afford.

A police investigation into Phantom Bidding might be an easier route to uncover the truth in this whole affair. Questions by the police can be raised as to the legality of offering the property for sale at Public auction for example plus the issue of fake emails could come to the surface again.

Do you have to sign in when attending the auction ?

Alison Hopkins said...

I'm not defending phantom bididng at all. Anyone who has ever bought or sold at auction will know that the auction house frequently bids to just below the reserve level to ensure that at least some acceptable bids are submitted. If there's no reserve, or if proxies are received above ir, then the auction house doesn't bid. Given that if the reserve - or discretionary - isn't met by a bid the widget doesn't sell at all, I don't quite see why it's unethical.

Phantom bids on ebay or elsewhere are an entirely different matter. That's where a seller uses their own multiple id's to bid up a thing. It's the reverse of ringing, which is also illegal.

Alison Hopkins said...

It's not correct to say that in the instance I've cited buyers pay more. If the auction house were bidding ABOVE the reserve - which is most certainly against their own industry code of conduct! - then yes, the buyer would pay more. What I'm talking about is the auction house bidding against the reserve to just below it.

It isn't fraud, it's the whole point of a reserve. Anyone familiar with buying at any auction knows that. I'd agree that the auction house may well have been bidding, but that's not a phantom bidder.

Don't forget that Gillick will have incurred costs for all this, not that I've any sympathy with im whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

'Francis Henry, from Daniels Estate Agent, which has several branches in Brent, told the Times a sale could still go ahead.

He said: “Just because the auction’s over doesn’t mean the deal can’t be done.

“It’s still under auction rules so anybody that would like to buy it and effectively exchange contracts immediately is when the hammer drops. Although even in this instance after the hammer, a sale can still be agreed" -

Seems that the running is still in Gillick's favour as the binding agreement of a sale would effectively nullify ACV moratorium conditions of sale only to a 'community interest' group. Lot 88 is still on Alsopps website as 'available'.

As has been said previously, the Localism Act and ACV are nothing more than cosmetic sops to local people. To paraphrase a forgotten pop song: 'you keep me hanging on'.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Francis can give us the low-down on what he thinks happened at the auction - does it sound to him as if the two under-bids were from phantom bidders?

Anonymous said...

Beer and food as well, eh? You guys have really been living the dream thanks to Mr G!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, Alison. Can everyone forget the 'phantom bidding' stuff please? It's a distraction (though David Icke fans will no doubt see this post as an attempt to throw you off the scent).

Anonymous said...

Cue a breathless Diana Ross '....and there ain't nothing I can do about it.'

Anonymous said...

Why do you want to end posts about phantom bidding? Why, and from what, is it 'a distraction'?

Alison Hopkins said...

Thank you 13:04.

And just for clarity, I'm talking about spoof bids, which are entirely legal and commonplace - it's also known as taking bids off the wall. Shill bidding and phantom bidding are both illegal, as is ringing. That Ebay prosecution is most certainly not the first.

In order to bid at any auction you have to register. As to what you then provide, it depends on what the auction house are selling and how they want payment.

Anonymous said...

My reading of thé entreprise Act 2002 spoofs bids illégal.

It is more that It is difficult to prove.

Anonymous said...

Phantom bidding is not à distraction.

Just like fake emails phantom bids
are illegal.

Anonymous said...

I am surprise at you Alison.

The reserve for the library was increased a day or so before auction.

The reserve is the minimum a seller will accept.

Trying to push the price above a reserve is tantamount to deception and fraud in my book.

This type of practice needs to be investigated by the police.

Auctioneers should be forced to declare a bid they accepted was a house bid if they want to put plants in the audience just to get a price above the reserve price and make more money for the seller.

In my mind this is no different to the Libor Bank scam. Innocent bidders are being duped.

Anonymous said...

As Brent point out there is no case law in respect to ACV

Well Brent Council this would be a good opportunity to test the law.

Mr Gillick chose to advertise and put the building up for Public Auction during the Moratorium period.

We need case law to establish if Mr Gillicks actions were in fact lawful under the Localism legislation.

Furthermore case law has to establish if conditions of the moratorium have been broken, what are the implications for the owner for example fines and penalties ? Could a court grant a further extension to the moratorium period, if the owner has breached responsibilities under moratorium .

Furthermore a Court of Law needs to review the legal contract of sale, if it is found the option agreement is null and void.

Brent you owe it to the local people to challenge the above.

Anonymous said...

Well-said, 14.11. And saddened to hear Alison saying elsewhere on the blog that she doesn't see how phantom bidding is unethical.

Alison also seems to be confused - at 13.21 below she now states that phantom bidding is illegal. Perhaps she can redeem herself by requesting details of the bidders from Alsopps, as she's helpfully stated, also at 13.21, that 'In order to bid at any auction you have to register'.

Anonymous said...

Alison 11:02

Why do you say making a false bid on eBay to bid up the price to a reserve price is different to a phantom bidder at a propert auction making a bid to increase the price, when they have no intention of actually buying and or do not have any ability to pay ?

Making a false bid does not find the true price and only benefits the seller and auction house in achieving bids above reserve price.

It is only allegations the 2 bids of £1.2 million were false bids attempting to drive the price to reserve of £1.25 million, but this again has a very bad smell.

Anonymous said...

Alison I think you are getting confused.

An Auction can make a bid and actually declares it as an auctioneers bid, if it does not reach reserve price and is passed in, on an auctioneers bid.

An auction house most certainly can't have people in the audience bidding for the auction house to bid up the price. That is illegal practice, although I am sure it is more rampant that we think.

I good reason for the police to investigate.

Alison Hopkins said...

Please read what I said properly. I'll state it again, being clear about what terms are what.

Spoof or off the wall bidding is not illegal. Nor is it unethical. It involves bidding by an auction house to BELOW the reserve price and any discretionary threshhold. It does NOT increase the reserve - you can't do that whilst a sale is actually in progress. (You can reduce it, though, if the seller agrees.) NO ONE is paying more than they should, because the reserve has NOT been met. If the reserve is not met, the auctioneer will not sell the widget.

There is nothing wrong with increasing - or decreasing, for that matter - a reserve before an auction, it happens all the time. And, sellers and buyers sometimes come to agreement after the auction which can result in a sale to an underbidder.

Shill bidding and bidding via personation - called by some phantom - is illegal. So is ringing, which is where prices are held down by a circle of colluding bidders. ANY bidding using morphing, personation or multiple IDs that involves driving "innocent" bidders ABOVE the reserve, and which results in their paying over the odds is illegal and unethical. That includes supposed plants in the audience.

Clear now?

As to the bidders, if they were in the room, it would be obvious who they were. If not, and they were proxies, the auction house certainly won't reveal them - there's no contract, for one thing.

There's a fair bit of paranoia creeping in to all this. Not everything sells, you know.

Anonymous said...

Hang on Alison

EBay bidding with a reserve price is exactly the same as an auction house with a reserve price ie if Reserve price is not met the sale does not go through.

Trying to bid up the price to the reserve price is illegal as it is really trying to get bidders to come up to the reserve price so seller and auction house achieve their price aim.

Anonymous said...

Francis is an estate agent!

He knows a lot about paying parking tickets and nothing about big boy auctions.

Alison Hopkins said...

OK, 14:47, let's try this again. I do wonder how much clearer I have to be on this.

For one thing, you can't make a false bid on Ebay to bid up to the reserve. The minimum bid IS the reserve on Ebay. (Who are not, apparently, an auction, but that's another matter!) What is both illegal and against Ebay's Ts and Cs is the use of shill or phantom bidding, using multiple IDs or a colluder to push the final closing price to OVER the reserve.

Off the wall bids at physical auctions are only allowed to BELOW the reserve price. It is NOT legal to use collusive bids to push the price OVER the reserve. At a physical auction, if the reserve is not met - and that has to be a genuine bid - then the widget is unsold. There's no such thing as the "true price" below the reserve: it simply goes unsold.

If someone at the library auction had bid the reserve, then the thing would have sold. If that winning bid had been false, then the auction house could and would have claimed a very large amount from said bidder. Cite on that is the Chinese vase saga.

Alison Hopkins said...

You're missing the point, I'm afraid. A reserve is a reserve, and a thing won't sell below it. There's no issue with bidding BELOW the reserve. The problem and illegality is fraudulent bdding once the reserve is met or exceeded, in order to drive the closing price up. You could have off the walls up to a pound below reserve, legally, but the moment someone meets or exceeds, it's illegal.

The whole point of a reserve is to achieve a price aim. If bidders don't come up to it, then the thing doesn't sell.

Anonymous said...

Well-said, 14.47.

As has already been suggested above, perhaps Alison could help clarify matters by obtaining the registration details of the bidders from Alsopps.

Anonymous said...

LOL, 00.51!

Meg Howarth said...

Sorry, 10.07, I didn't see who bid but the bidders were in the room.

Meg Howarth said...

Alison - at 13.21 you say that bidders have to register at auction. As the two bidders were in the room, should their registration details still be on file? Thanks.

Alison Hopkins said...

I've got nothing to do with Alsopps, so I've no clue why 17:14 is suggesting that I do. A rather odd remark.

Anyone could ask, I suppose, but I can see a couple of issues. Firstly, if the bidders were in the audience, they won't be recorded - it's only proxies that are noted by auction houses. The only one recorded would be the winner, if there was one. Secondly, whilst Alsopps will have details of all registred bidders - whether they be on the day, or regular - they can obviously cite commercial confidence and the provisions of the data protection act.

One thing does apply, of course. Anyone prepared to bid seven figures at any auction is not exactly going to be naive about them, and will certainly have the finance lined up. Someone would have to be prepared to pay out the £125,000 deposit almost immediately.

Anonymous said...

It would be helpful if you could direct to actual legislation that enables "Off the wall bids" at property auction bidding below the reserve to be legal bids below the reserve.

The example of ebay online where someone sets up a fake id and then bids up the price to the reserve, to my mind is the same thing as someone at a property auction bidding up to the reserve just so other bidders might then step in and start bidding. Well that is what they hope will happen.

This to me seems illegal and I am amazed if there is a law that allows "Fake Bids"

The property industry might accept it and it seems with your previous background in property industry and your comments above, it is an industry accepted "Norm" and nobody has legally questioned it before.

Alison Hopkins said...

Hi Meg - that would depend on how Alsopps work. Some auctions do keep details, others don't. It would also depend on whether they're regular bidders or one off for that sale only. I doubt they'd provide them to a member of the public, anyhow.

If the two bidders were in the audience, it's pretty unlikely that one of them was the auction house, in my view.

Anonymous said...

In reading above it now seems probable the 2 bids at £1.2 million were not real bids and were phantom bids to encourage other bidders to part with their money.

Luckily fools did not fall for this trick.

Anonymous said...

I bet you one thing he'll make a shed load of cash!

Land bank and you cannot lose!

And the chances of a library become slimmer...

Anonymous said...

Not a gambling person, but I bet he looses, once the option agreement has been challenged and found to be an unlawful sale.

I very much look forward to that day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16.26

I'm sure Francis will share the joke but I'd rather he spoke for himself. Poor Alison has been left holding the fort on the phantom bidding question. It's an important matter, and as a strong supporter of the campaign to save KRL, his opinion matters.

Anonymous said...

God knows where you get the patience, Alison. When I said earlier that the phantom bid stuff was a distraction I meant that you clearly knew what you were talking about and, having experience of auction rooms myself, you were right in this case.
The Icke-ists don't seem happy with this because it lacks the appeal of the imaginary, unproveable or the simply ludicrous. The time spent questioning your knowledge and positing fantasies is a waste of time: a distraction. And the idea that no one has ever questioned the legality of a phenomenon which for centuries has happened in thousands of venues most days of the week and involves loads of money, well .............

Anonymous said...

Well lets start questioning as in reality phantom bidders are simply pushing up the price. Any future developer is more than likely see the D1 area as unviable as the said developer may have to pay more than they would if there was transparent bidding.

I should add if the alleged phantom bidding is not challenged Gillick could simply claim during the moratorium process that minimum community purchase prices is £1.2 million, reflecting the claimed bids as the minimum price.

So there is actually a very good reason to establish the true nature of the 2 bids, as Gillick could claim them to be the market price for the asset. But in reality if for example there were not any bids, he could not claim the community would have to pay £1.2 million as no "Market Price" had been determined.

ACV is not prescriptive in terms of what price an owner should accept from the community and therefore more than likely Gillick would now say £1.2 million is the market price. Take it or leave it.

Meg Howarth said...

Why so keen, Anon 19.39, to disparage and insult those asking genuine questions about the possibility of phantom bidding at the auction - a practice I, for one, had never previously heard of? All behind the mask of anonymity, of course.

Alison hasn't claimed the status you assign her of being the fount of all knowledge on this matter. Personally, as in a couple of comments above, I'd like to hear Francis Henry's view - I'd hazard a guess he's at least as well informed - not because I distrust Alison but because property-dealing is what he does every day.

As for your final sentence, if the illegal practice of phantom bidding is continuing, it's obviously vital that the questioning continues whenever there are doubts. That appears not to be a view you share.

Meg Howarth said...

Thanks, Alison.

Anonymous said...

How precisely does this get us closer to getting a library?

Are there any alternative premises we could operate from?

Pretty clean to be we will not be back in the library any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree phantom bidding needs to be challenged.

If the auctioneer has not got a record, then obvious must have been phantom bids and building not worth what Gillick claims it might be worth.

Anonymous said...

Margaret attended the auction. It could be helpful if she gave her impression of the bidding.

Anonymous said...

Again more censorship from martin

Comments on how good our party was have not been printed!

It's like a Stalin regeme

Anonymous said...

I agree with Meg

It is likely if a bidder is forced to pay more for the building they will try and renegotiate D1 space and where will that end ?

Gillick has played us for fools.

Martin Francis said...

No, just sparing readers from your boring wind ups...

Anonymous said...

Martin you do a good job at moderating.

Readers and posters alike should read the terms for posting.

Martin gives everyone the opportunity to express their views unless they are abusive.

The issues surrounding the fate of Kensal Rise Library are increasingly becoming complex. Emotions run high.

We all want the best for a community building, but attacking each others points of view is not the way forward.

Enough said !

Anonymous said...

Reading between the lines the security guards are having a laugh.

Anonymous said...

Think you will find it's a private building.

As private as your or martins house.

I think the topic is a non event the conversation should now focus on getting a new premises.

Anonymous said...

Private it might be at the moment, but we shall see about that.

Anonymous said...

Think we are free to do what we choose in the building once we don't disturb anyone...

Sour grapes

francis said...

Can I say Martin Francis always reports unbiased information, he like me cares for the ability of children to have easy access to real books to learn from.

Those that spoke to me prior to the auction will know that my view was that this was not an attempt at a genuine sale.

Lets unite for the common goal of saving the library, in the mean time go and borrow some books and have a happy Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Grateful to Francis for his comment - above, 22 December 10.44 and reposted here to make it easier for blog readers to find:

'Can I say Martin Francis always reports unbiased information, he like me cares for the ability of children to have easy access to real books to learn from.

Those that spoke to me prior to the auction will know that my view was that this was not an attempt at a genuine sale.

Lets unite for the common goal of saving the library, in the mean time go and borrow some books and have a happy Christmas'.

If I've understood him correctly, he seems to be saying that phantom bidding was a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Look forward to 100% of the building returned to the community in 2015.

Happy Christmas and drink to a happy 2015.

Anonymous said...

Your final-sentence's tentative conclusion does not follow from his 'view was that this was not an attempt at a genuine sale'. As far as I can see, the term 'phantom bidding' has not yet got an agreed definition in the discussion on this blog and so Francis would be unlikely to comment on its application in this case.

Anonymous said...

And so it came to pass that the sneering, sarcastic 'Icke-ist' - 13.04 and 19.39 above - was the attempted distraction after all. Quelle surprise...

Anonymous said...

A probability, by the sound of it.

Anonymous said...

If the illegal practice of phantom bidding did take place, then surely FKRL will have reported this to the appropriate authorities?

Anonymous said...

Anon 15.47.
You're making my case for me by completely misunderstanding the purpose of my comments and assuming them to come from some conspirator out to do you down.
What I take to be your wishes for the outcome of this whole library situation will not be advanced by muddle-headed wishful thinking and the silly jumping to conclusions of your latest post.
There are now over 150 posts on this topic and a fair proportion of those mention 'phantom bidding'. There is nowhere a precise definition of what constitutes 'phantom bidding' or precisely how it was supposed to have happened at last week's auction (or before, or after). If you can come up with what YOU (sorry about caps, no italic option) mean by 'phantom bidding' and how it occurred in this case then we could move on to the next stage. If you can't, then all we have here is a lot of discussion of a phenomenon without any a priori agreement as to what the phenomenon is that is being discussed.
The next stage, after you've set out what exactly you believe to have happened, is to work out whether it makes any difference to anything: if the practices said to have occurred at the auction were illegal or fraudulent, then it does (if they can be proved). If they were not, it doesn't. You can waste time talking about whether things are ethical or not if you want but it won't change the result and is, yes, a distraction.
What legal matters like these require is rigorous legal clarity and the cool investigation of tactical possibilities, not woolly language and snatching at straws. That kind of approach does a cause like this no good at all and is meat and drink to operators like Gillick and the lawyers they can employ. What you judge to be 'sneering' and sarcasm are simply my frustration at the lack of focus of some contributors, for example in their responses to Alison's explanations. I apologise for letting it show in that manner.

I hope that makes my position clearer. But if you think this post is just another part of the 'attempted distraction' then I'm afraid you really would be better off sharing your thoughts with the other believers in the psycho lizards from Saturn.

Alison Hopkins said...

I don't think any conclusions can be drawn about "phantom bidding" from Francis' post. He might perhaps be referring to an attempt to establish a market price or that the reserve was too high, deliberately. That will have cost Gilick something in terms of listing fees and legal pack.

I do have a theory, but it's only that. If Gillick wants to show that the planning permission isn't economically viable with the D1 space extant, then a failed sale is a way to do it. He can then possibly make a new application with the D1 space removed.

Whatever the truth, I think that any chance of the whole building being given back to the people of Brent is vanishingly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

As per Francis comment, "Auction was not genuine sale" I take this to mean Gillick was trying to establish a base market price. I few posts seem to also refer to this.

While some may view phantom bidding as a distraction I would support an investigation. I can now see possibility Gillick will say a benchmark has been achieved and will wait until he get £1.2 or more.

This results in nothing for the community and is not what he had orginally promised nor what FKRL had promised.

In hindsight perhaps there should have been a stronger agreement such as Gillick paying for external space for a library until such time as development proceeds.

Without the huge support from FKRL the planning permission may not have been given the green light. Gillick owes the community big time.

He can't just sail off into the sunset leaving the community stranded. Seems very unethical to have promised so much and delivered so little.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out my unintended error, 15.39. I'd meant to say 'probability', not 'possibility'.

Anonymous said...

Gillick is a smart guy any of those that have met him. He will have known what he is doing.

Odds on he has something up his sleeve.

Donating the building to a cause is unlikely to be on the top of his list.

If we want to start a library I think we should find an alternate building.

Realistically a library will never return to the corner of Bathurst gardens.

Like out commentators have said these phantom bidder story and all the other tales will get us nowhere.

Anonymous said...


Let Gillick run away with the building.

I don't think so.

Why such haste ?

4 years and can't give up now.

Alison Hopkins said...

Gillick can - and probably will - do exactly as he pleases. He has no obligation to the community whatsoever. He's supposedly a property developer, although I don't know of any projects he's seen to completion. But perhaps I've missed them.

Being brutal, none of us has a hope in hell of preventing him doing as he wishes. There was never any reason why he should pay for space until the library was set up - why should he?

Let's not forget that the root cause of all this was the closure of the library and the triggering of the reverter clause. Just like Cricklewood.

Anonymous said...

Sad to have to say it but. Cricklewood looks destined in same fate as Kensal Rise with Gillick immediately selling up once planning permission docs are in his hot little hand.

Cricklewood expect the most likely outcome and don't think you will have a library anytime soon.

That is the hard reality that residents will realize in due course.

Anonymous said...


Gillick can't take our building.

We shall not be moved !

Anonymous said...

From 'Homes Under the Hammer' website - how our auctions are filmed

Anonymous said...

It would be worth contacting them, as they may have filmed the bidders.

I bet as some self promotion Gillick would have been active in appearing.

Anonymous said...

Both buildings are sold and gone.

Just like the pop up evictions.

This guy does not dilly dally.

We have to realise both these buildings legally belong to him and our chances of getting a library are precisely zero.

An auction a week before Christmas this guy was laughing in our face.

Like many library supporters I have lost total interest as the realism strikes we have to make do with the wembley library.

Anonymous said...

That is exactly what Gillick wants

Once people give up and can do as he pleases.

We must make a stand for our future generation.

Community Assets can't just be given away.

If Gillick had kept his part of the promise of providing D1 space everyone we have been reasonably happy.

He did not keep his promise to the community. It is very insulting when people were bullied into accepting the planning application was the only solution. In reality it was more about Gillick making a nice profit at the expense of the community.

Anonymous said...

Update - CPS have decided not to bring any prosecution regarding fraudulent emails

Anonymous said...

Like every other aspect of law and policing (or 'security') involved in this story, the CPS's function is to protect property and wealth.

Anonymous said...


Power in high places to avoid prosecution.

Anonymous said...

Amazing people can be and are regularly prosecuted and sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread from a big corporation, but when it comes to stealing from the community, we turn a blind eye.

One day the community will wake up with nothing left, sold to the highest bidder using power and influence to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

Where is that information from?

Martin is this more inaccurate wb rumours or has it merit?

Martin Francis said...

From Brent Council. Now posted separately.

Anonymous said...

Power to the people !

Meg Howarth said...

Whether or not phantom bidding occurred at the auction, I agree with Alison and Anon 20.00 that the winner from the 'failed' auction sale is Andrew Gillick. As both say, Gillick can now cite failure to reach market price as a reason to 'renegotiate' - get out of - the S106 Deed of Agreement on the D1 space.

Meg Howarth said...

Sorry, Francis, intended to thank you for giving your view of the auction. All best for 2015.

Anonymous said...

Gone fishing...