An older Private Eye article on the cosy relationships between developers (who foot the bill for the event) and the councillors who get to enjoy a bit of sunshine and champagne.


EALING town hall chiefs, along with hundreds of other council bigwigs from across Britain, are off to the property Booze ‘n’ Hookerfest known as Mipim, in Cannes from 15-18 March. Their considerable expenses will be covered by developers whose plans they are nevertheless expected to consider impartially. The world’s richest property moguls and their investment advisers will attend Mipim, many in private planes and on luxury yachts. Infesting the hotel bars will be hundreds of eastern European blondes, drawn by the scent of money and sleaze. Council leader Julian Bell, along with senior officers including the directors of regeneration, housing and planning, will no doubt be firmly focused on the more serious business of toadying to developers. The Labour council’s Mipim benefactors include Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle, which are behind controversial plans to clear a 1.5-acre site in Ealing’s venerable Victorian town centre to make way for towers rising to 18 storeys containing 200 luxury flats. The council’s planning committee passed the multi-million-pound application on 24 February. When asked by one resident about the conflict of interests, the council’s legal officer referred to advice received from Lucy Taylor, director of regeneration and planning. “Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle are two of over 25 sponsors of Ealing in London,” she said, although the website names only 14. They include British Land, Segro, Countryside and St James (part of Berkeley Homes). “I am confident that there will be no impropriety in consideration of the application.” Would this be the same Lucy Taylor who will soon be wafting off to Cannes courtesy of developers including Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle? Mais bien sir!

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