Members of London’s fire authority have been told they have “sufficient legal grounds” to refuse the Mayor’s instruction to sell three fire stations below market value.
Earlier this month members of the the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) sought legal advice after Boris Johnson indicated he was minded to order them to sell the former Silvertown, Southwark Bridge Road and Bow fire stations for less than the best offer.
The Mayor wants the sites to be used as schools which would mean selling them to the Government’s Education Funding Agency for around £30m below their collective market value.
Authority members have previously raised concerns that accepting anything other than the highest bid would breach their financial duty to taxpayers.
Although LFEPA has declined to publish the advice in full, a report to members says “there are sufficient legal grounds on which the Authority could refuse to comply with a direction to dispose of the former fire station sites for educational purposes at an undervalue.”
At a meeting of the full authority due to take place this week, members will be presented with a choice of two options: telling the Mayor they’ll resist any attempt to force a below value sale, or attempting to negotiate a compromise solution with the Mayor.