The Orpington Distribution Centre ofBromley Borough Foodbank is at 111 Cotmandene Crescent, on the St Pauls Cray Estate, one of the most deprived wards in the borough. Last October, Bromley Council decided to charge the foodbank the full commercial rent of £8,400 per year.
The Council gives no support to Foodbank. It is supported by the hard work of volunteers, and by donations from individuals and local churches. Unlike other charities the Foodbank gets no income from selling goods in a shop, or from contracts with the Council, and the Orpington branch will struggle to raise this rent.
At the Full Council Meeting on 21 July, Mrs Susan Sullis of the Community Care Protection Group presented a petition calling on the council to charge only a ‘peppercorn’ rent.
Councillors Robert Evans and Graham Arthur proposed a vote to take no action on the petition and this was carried. Councillor Angela Wilkins asked for the votes to be counted, but even that was not supported by the required one third of members present.
Bromley Council has a high level of reserves, pays some of the highest allowances in the Country and pays its CEO more than the Prime Minister. At a time when the demands on foodbanks are rising, it is shameful that the Council decided to charge the full rent. A tiny amount in the council budget, but a huge amount for Orpington Foodbank.