Jo Negrini, the chief executive of Croydon Council, has refused to intervene over complaints, from the public and one of the borough’s MPs, over potential conflicts of interest of senior councillors in the planning process.
Croydon’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration is Alison Butler, who is driving the council’s policy of building 1,000 homes through the Town Hall-owned company, Brick by Brick. Butler is married to Paul Scott, a councillor for Woodside ward and the chair of Croydon’s planning committee which sits in judgement on all planning applications, including those from Birck by Brick.
Brick by Brick is the development vehicle introduced by Negrini when she was head of the council’s planning department; she appointed her council planning department deputy, Colm Lacey, as the company’s managing director. It would be fair to suggest that Negrini’s professional reputation has much at stake over Brick by Brick.
By a happy coincidence (for those firms being handed the juicy, publicly funded contracts), Brick by Brick appointed around a dozen firms of architects to conduct the design work on its housing schemes, just around the same time that RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, made Negrini an honorary fellow.