Was Fat ‘Cat’ City of London Planning Chair Chris Hayward Lying When He Claimed He’d Only Do Lunch Once A Month?

Questions over possible conflicts of interest in the new City of London Planning and Transport Committee have been circulating online and elsewhere for a couple of months. An early example can be found in a Taxi Leaks post of 24 May 2017 entitled The decision taken by City of London Planning to ban Taxis from Bank Junction alleged to be improper and corrupt…by Dave Davies. I’m going to quote from that and then look at how concerns that there may be conflicts of interest have broadened to encompass more than just Christopher Hayward of the Planning Committee. From Taxi Leaks:

The Chair of the Planning and Transport Committee is Chris Hayward, a prominent Freemason who has previously said his role is;

“An honorary position and unpaid”.

He is a full time Herts. County Councillor who runs a property investment company and is also listed as a director of a Planning Consultancy company who does business with those affected by the City of London Planning and TFL decisions. He brags about his connection with Cameron and about the new skyscrapers he has given permission for a couple of hundred metres away from Bank Junction which will cause massive transport problems in that area….

There will be tens of thousands of HGV deliveries for the 3 skyscrapers that Hayward has given permission for a few hundred meters from Bank Junction, all at the same time.

Has he banned Taxis to make way for construction traffic for the multi billion pound developments that he has given permission for?

He owns a £1m property at Bank Junction , the value of which will increase by banning traffic from his front door.

His register of Interest lists him as a Senior Counsel for JBP Associates and a Director for Indigo Planning.

JBP Associates is a company which helps businesses to gain access to MPs and Peers to help their business interests.

In other words those in power get paid by businesses to influence the policy in their favour.

Perhaps one example could be where 3 multi billion pound skyscraper developments close to Bank Junction which were previously refused permission are all now given permission within a few months of Hayward taking office as Chair of the Planning Committee.

Hayward is listed as a Director for Indigo Planning who consult with TFL on development projects,…

http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/10302049.County_council_s_deputy_leader_to_stand_for_election_in_London/

(This) article states Hayward doesn’t get paid for City of London Job and does it for ‘honour’ – only takes 1 lunch meeting a month…

Banning Taxis from Bank will cause massive congestion in surrounding areas and therefore cause massive pollution.

The decision is improper and does not comply with Public Law on many points… The City of London has a conflict of interest by only allowing TFL Buses access to Bank Junction.

TFL have provided significant funding for the consultation and the City of London have requested an additional £900k.

TFL will also be expected to fund some of the £18 million project cost.

The Directors of TFL have significant shareholdings in the Bus companies who will benefit by being the only vehicles allowed access to Bank Junction.

It is therefore a conflict of interest for the City of London to give exclusive access to Bank Junction which benefits TFL Directors while at the same time receiving more than 31 million in funding for consultation and many millions more in project costs….

This can be found at: http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/the-decision-taken-by-city-of-london.html

A few weeks after this Taxi Leaks post appeared online, a document dated 14 June and headed BERNARD MORGAN HOUSE, 43 GOLDEN LANE EC1Y 0RS (BMH), circulated addressing the same Planning Committee’s potential conflict of interest issues with regard to permission granted on 23 May 2017 to Taylor Wimpey to build their planned luxury apartment block at 43 Golden Lane. The text was the work of the chair of the Bernard Morgan Liaison Group, Fred Rodgers. It reads in part as follows:

Hayward told us in January that his Deputy Chair, Alistair Moss, a consultant to Westbourne Communications, Taylor Wimpey’s PR consultants, was conflicted and was playing no part in considering the Application. He was not at the 23 May Committee, where Hayward, without commenting on the Application, voted in favour….

Hayward was appointed a director of Indigo Planning Ltd (Indigo) on 1 January 2017. He is also a director of three family companies – one being Hayward Properties Limited and a Counsel for JBP Associates Ltd, a lobbying company, as well as being a director of MPAC Ltd, a corporate compliance consultancy…. Indigo has recently represented Taylor Wimpey. A planning appeal decision on 21 April 2017 re Chester West and Chester District Council (12/02032/OUT) being available on the Internet. Also available from the Internet is an indication that JBP Associates carried out unspecified PR work on behalf of Taylor Wimpey between December 2015 and February 2016.

During his previous Hertfordshire County Council role as Executive Member for Resources and Performance, Hayward was involved, in July 2016, in the acceptance of Taylor Wimpey as one of two parties interested in acquiring Radlett Airfield for development as a new garden village.

At the Committee on 23 May three Common Councillors spoke unequivocally in favour of the proposal – James Thomson, Andy Mayer and Mark Boleat. Alderman Sir Michael Bear… and Brian Mooney, a Common Councillor, were more equivocal.

Thomson is (or was) executive chairman of Keepmoat plc. He declares an interest as a major City Corporation contractor with a £5.9 million contract (now, according to CoLC over £8 million, without any cap) for new cladding and windows at Great Arthur House, Golden Lane Estate… Thomson was deputy chief financial officer and chief operating officer of DTZ until DTZ acquired Cushman & Wakefield on 1 October 2015. In January 2017, Cushman & Wakefield launched phase 2 of Taylor Wimpey’s Battersea Exchange development. On 1 March, it began advertising Taylor Wimpey’s 57 East Dalston…

It seems Bear was appointed Chairman of Turley Associates Ltd (Turley), a planning consultancy, on 5 June, 12 days after the Committee determined to approve the Application. According to its own website, Turley acted for Taylor Wimpey in respect of an application for planning permission for a site at Dilworth Lane Longridge, Ribble Valley. According to copy documents on the Internet, Turley also represented Taylor Wimpey in a planning appeal relating to land outside Wells, Somerset. There are other examples on the Internet, such as the West of England Joint Planning Consultation, c/o South Gloucestershire Council and the Westacott Strategic Extension in North Devon.

Resolving if there are conflict of interest issues as regards the committee Chris Hayward chairs takes on even more pertinence in light of a Cripplegate Ward Meeting at the Golden Lane Community Centre on 26 June 2017. The planned agenda was abandoned in favour of addressing matters of fire safety in light of the Grenfell Tower disaster in North Kensington. The packed gathering was told the City of London performed fire safety checks on Great Arthur House, a sixteen storey tower block that as mentioned above is in the process of being re-clad by Keepmoat. The inspection allegedly found flammable strips of 30cm wide insulation that ran the whole height of the block. The flammable material has now been removed. It is thought it was supplied by Keepmoat. If true, one wonders why Keepmoat decided to use this flammable material instead of the inflammable material specified by the City of London? Especially when James Thomson who is so closely connected to the company is a local councillor and sits on the planning committee. If this is how Keepmoat acts when ‘renovating’ council housing in the City of London, one wonders how it approaches the job elsewhere?

Allegedly Keepmoat also cut the new cladding panels to the wrong size and simply did some botching to make them fit rather than getting new ones. A Great Arthur House resident at the Cripplegate Ward Meeting claimed that to make the panels fit Keepmoat have set them in a different position than originally intended and a resultant gap has been plugged with MDF. The resident asked if MDF was fire resistant? Apparently this is being investigated – although whether the ability of MDF to soak up water like a sponge and other potential problems are being looked into seems to be a moot point.

And finally to clarify something cited in Taxi Leaks, this is what the Watford Observer quoted Chris Hayward as saying about the role and workload of City of London councillors in an article of 20 March 2013:

…he stressed the role is unpaid and would involve no more than “one lunch time meeting a month”.

He said: “It is not exactly a major time commitment. If it was anything more than one meeting then I wouldn’t do it.

“The councillors in the City of London also receive no allowances whatsoever.”

“This isn’t a David Lloyd scenario, there is no income for common councilmen, it is more of an honorary body.”

County council’s deputy leader Chris Hayward to stand for election in London.

But then if you’re as overweight as Chris Hayward, I’d have thought even one lunch meeting a month was a conflict of self-interest; let alone the innumerably greater number of lunch and dinner meetings you’d actually have to attend. And if City of London councillors aren’t even being paid expenses it does seem pertinent to ask what they’re getting out of their role?

Pippa Henslowe.

The photo above shows the Golden Lane Estate Community Centre with Great Arthur House (the yellow building) behind it.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Was Fat ‘Cat’ City of London Planning Chair Chris Hayward Lying When He Claimed He’d Only Do Lunch Once A Month?

  1. Never mind the quality, Pippa, feel the size of the stitch-up.

    Of a recent Saturday evening in Waitrose Peter Wynne Rees, former City Planning Officer (1985-2014) and resident of Heron Tower, could be seen shopping. When accosted in a friendly manner and asked if he had any opinion on the fate of Bernard Morgan House or advice on how to deal with the Planning Committee, he stared very hard at the bread shelf and said no and no. (In some ways the answer was commendable as it is extremely rare these days to hear the word no being uttered at all.)

    In a Guardian article (‘The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities’) Oliver Wainwright quotes Rees saying ‘never trust a bank with property or a property developer with money’; the qualification seems redundant: never trust either full stop.

    In another article for the Guardian, Rees wrote of the need to avoid the phenomenon of ‘lights-out London’, with homes just used as boxes for spare cash.

    One such story, possibly apocryphal, attached to the development of the ex-YMCA into Blake Tower was that foreigners buying into the scheme would get a British passport thrown in.

    Wainwright has two applicable quotes in terms of the BMH development. 1) ‘Across the country – and especially in superheated London, where stratospheric land values beget accordingly bloated developments – authorities are allowing planning policies to be continually flouted, affordable housing quotas to be waived, height limits breached, the interests of residents endlessly trampled.’ 2) ‘If the devil is in the detail, then the detail is Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, a clause which formalised “planning gain”, making it in the local authorities’ interests to allow schemes to balloon beyond all reason, in the hope of creaming off the fat of developers’ profits for the public good.’

    ‘Public good’ is a phrase much bandied by the Corporation without any explanation of what it actually means or why it might be good.

    More on Rees; this from the FT (Nov 14 2014): ‘About a year after the residents of the Heron in the City of London moved into their glistening new skyscraper, they decided to form a residents’ association. Yet when they tried to gather support for the idea among their fellow tower dwellers, they encountered a problem: they couldn’t find half of the residents. “They hadn’t even picked up the keys 12 months on,” says Peter Wynne Rees. “If that isn’t an indication of their motive for buying a property, I don’t know what is.”

    Rees, the article notes, not only lives in the Heron but guided its planning application in his previous role of chief planner, and the vignette is offered as a prime example of what he believes is wrong with the capital’s property market: speculative foreign investors flooding in, pushing out locals with cash purchases and exacerbating the housing shortage by leaving homes empty.

    In Slow Burn City: London in the Twenty-First Century, Rowan Moore has a surprising and altogether racier portrait of Rees as a more louche figure than a lifetime of committees might suggest: a self-proclaimed Porsche-driving cruiser frequenting leather bars and declaring London to be the world’s best party. Moore writes: ‘In this eroto-economic theory of town planning, pleasure is an end in itself, a source of personal identity and freedom and an engine of the city’s prosperity.’ What’s not to like? But the sting comes in the tail as Moore concludes: ‘So central, indeed, is the pursuit of pleasure to the city that Rees believes families with children should live away from the centre of London.’

    Perhaps Richard Smith, development director of TWCL, believed these clearances had already taken place because at the first public meeting for the Bernard Morgan House development he informed a local resident and mother of three that not many children lived in the area, indicating a lack of basic homework in that his company had acquired the site unaware that it overlooked a campus of 500 primary-school children.

    Moore notes of Golden Lane in his book: ‘The detail is light and glassy, creating transparencies between inside and out and a rapport between the interiors of the homes, within which privacy is nonetheless maintained.’ Not for much longer.

    TWCL on itself: ‘At Taylor Wimper Central London we take a bespoke approach to create distinctive luxury properties in central London locations that truly stand out from the crowd.’ Yes, mate, head and shoulders above the rest. (Almost every word of their copy is a detonation of cliché, the robotic prose tantamount to a death of language. The only disappointment is the absence of the word ‘iconic’.)

    ‘We design each development individually to make the best use of every feature inside and out, providing maximum space and light.’ No you don’t: some of the apartments in Gerrymander Mansions will not achieve recommended light levels because the developer is desperate to over-cram as many flats in for the sake of profit. Buyer beware.

    Note to Pippa Henslowe: do you suppose any of the shamed committee gentlemen would be susceptible to some sort of honeypot trap? Does the plumpness of their Windsor knots in the photographs bother you, or seem in any way sinister?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could overlook a lot about this sorry crew should they be able to open their mouths wide enough to clamp £30.4 million between their jaws in fifty pound notes and crawl to me on their hands and knees across of the whole of the courtyard outside the Guildhall before presenting me with said multi-million pound present. If any of them are able to do this they should also understand that if I’m to act as their financial dominatrix this is a strictly commercial transaction; there is no sex and I don’t deal in anything as lowly as Bobby Moores, Cockles or Lady Godivas!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s