Private Eye magazine, in their regular “Rotton Boroughs” section recently took a look at prominent Ealing council members’ connections with developers and housing concerns. It makes for interesting reading!
Below is the article:
TOILING OF THE BELL
PREVIOUSLY we revealed the close links between senior figures on Ealing council and A2Dominion (A2D), a developer which plans to build three towers containing 183 flats, mostly for sale to private investors, close to West Ealing station. Labour council leader Julian Bell’s office said that neither ClIr Bell (who rents a flat from A2D, despite owning a house nearby) nor Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, who is employed by A2D, would have any involvement in the planning application, so all was tickety-boo.
Back in March, ClIr Bell led a delegation from Ealing council to Mipim — Le marche international des professionnels de l’immobilier — a four-day jolly in Cannes where public servants rub shoulders with property spivs over champagne and canapes. The council’s spokesperson views it more kindly: “It helps the council showcase Ealing on a global stage and this year gave us the opportunity to meet potential partners to help deliver on our target of 2,500 genuinely affordable homes by 2022.”
So how much did it cost to fly the Ealing delegates to Cannes, put them up in hotels and take part in trade events? The council tells the Eye the grand total was £59,995. ClIr Bell declared that sponsors had taken care of the whole bill “at no cost to local taxpayers“, but he did not reveal who those sponsors were. The council has now provided a list: Berkeley Homes, Greystar, St George, A2 Dominion, British Land, Catalyst, CEG, City and Docklands, The Collective, Countryside, Galliard Homes, Galliford Try, Hill, Imperial College London, Interland Group, LSH, Montreaux, O’Shea and United Living. Bell and Co are truly the property industry’s darlings! The council’s spokesperson adds: “Sponsorship in no way influences the planning committee’s decisions and Cilr Bell does not sit on this committee.” So, nothing to see here.
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