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The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7087p402-403
March 11, Letters

The Society

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From Mr G. S. Phillips, MRPharmS, and others

SIR,-It has come to our attention that the Society is buying a flat for use by the President. The Society is spending between £0.5m and £0.6m on a luxury apartment adjacent to its Lambeth office "as an investment, or for use by the President or others to entertain decision-makers" (Chemist & Druggist, February 5). Other rumoured reasons for this purchase are security issues and the freeing of space for staff at Lambeth.
Insufficient details of this purchase have appeared in The Pharmaceutical Journal in recent weeks. It was briefly mentioned in a small article in the news section (PJ, February 5, p208), but no mention was made in the February Council meeting report. It appears that this purchase has not been discussed openly by council.
In the light of the Council's attempts to improve transparency in it's decisions and behaviour, this is a retrograde step. We have to ask when and whether the membership were to be told of this purchase?
The membership surely has a right to consider if such a use of their fees is justifiable or whether such a large amount of money would be better spent in other areas of real use to the membership.

Graham Phillips
St Albans, Hertfordshire

Anthony Cox
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Richard Eyles
Waltham Chase, Hamphire

Howard Fox
Dorchester, Dorset

Simon Whitaker

Steven Curtis
Stanmore, Middlesex

Lu Shin Wong
Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Miss ANN LEWIS (Secretary and Registrar, Royal Pharmaceutical Society) replies: In 1999 the Council commissioned a review of space utilisation at Lambeth to assess the potential for improvement and modernisation in response to the need for additional accommodation. An outline plan was presented to the Council, which included a proposal to provide residential accommodation in an adjacent, purpose-built development. Contracts have been exchanged on a flat in Parliament View, for which a deposit has been paid, but it would be open to the Society to sell at any stage before completion is due later in the summer.
If the purchase is completed, the flat will provide residential accommodation and a meeting room for use outside office hours. There will be improved security and savings on care-taking costs in the headquarters building. The Society's property advisers are currently preparing the first phase of of an improved plan for headquarters which may include new street level access on Lambeth Road, and proper provision for disabled access to the entrance foyer, hall (currently accessed via the goods lift) and other parts of the building. This will become a statutory requirement in the near future. The plans will also provide improvements for the publications department, membership services, the museum, the hall and conference facilities, including much needed break-out rooms for workshops and adding to the letting potential. This will greatly improve facilities for members generally. The plan is also designed to improve the asset value of the property.
These proposals will be considered by the Resource Management Committee in May and by the Council in May or June.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20000777

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