‘Flat-broke’ councils all set for MIPIM’s champagne reception

Jo Negrini: Croydon's head of planning will not see counterparts from many other Labour-run councils at MIPIM

Jo Negrini: Croydon’s head of planning will not meet counterparts from many other Labour-run councils at MIPIM this week

Australian-born Jo Negrini, who was appointed as Croydon’s head of planning soon after Australia-based developers Westfield rode into town with their £1 billion super-mall scheme, is likely to cut a lonely figure as the MIPIM UK international developers conference gets underway in London today.

Negrini will be a rarity at Olympia: she will be a senior executive from a Labour-run London council.

Three Labour councils in the capital have pulled out of MIPIM UK, where according to The Guardian, “major property developers, billionaire investors and officials of your local council…” will be discussing “…the sale of public real estate, prime land already owned by you and me, to the private sector.”

The Guardian continued: “The marketing people brand this a property trade show, but let’s drop the euphemisms and call it the sales fair to flog off Britain.”

The three Labour councils who made the decision in the interests of their residents to avoid hawking their arses to the highest bidders are Hammersmith and Fulham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets.

They could be missing out on a real gravy train. The Guardian again: “For the past 25 years, this conference … has been held in Cannes. It’s a jaunt so lavish as to be almost comic – where big money developers invite town hall executives for secret discussions aboard private yachts, and whose regulars boast that they get through more champagne than all the liggers at the film festival.”

A protestor's placard at MIPIM this morning

A protestor’s placard at MIPIM this morning

Croydon, during the reign of error under former chief executive Jon Rouse and Mike “#WadGate” Fisher, was always enthusiastically represented at MIPIM when it was held in Cannes. Despite the recent change in political administration, our council is back again at the event this week in London.

Negrini’s got to show up. She’s supposed to be receiving a bogus “award” for her “radical pragmatism”, as well as giving a talk entitled “Croydon: the economic powerhouse of the south-east”, something which The Guardian has described as having “the strong scent of neediness”.

Negrini might at least have Lib Peck for company at MIPIM UK. Peck is the Labour leader of Lambeth Council, and she will be talking in a session entitled “Affordable Housing: Is It Worth It?”

Some residents living in Britain’s “first co-operative council” are so disgusted by Peck’s appearance at MIPIM UK that they have called for her to withdraw Lambeth’s participation. “It is outrageous that Lib Peck, the Labour leader of Lambeth Council, has agreed to speak at this meeting given the scale and seriousness of housing problems in the borough,” a statement yesterday from Lambeth Housing Activists said.

The activists point to their borough, Croydon’s neighbour, having more than 20,000 people on its housing waiting list, and meanwhile spending more than £1 million to evict tenants from co-operative housing schemes. The eviction policy was introduced by Peck’s predecessor as Labour leader in Lambeth, Steve Reed OBE. Reed, of course, is now the MP for Lambeth South.

The reason why Labour-run councils such as Lambeth and Croydon appear so keen to get into bed with the multi-billionaire developers and overseas investors? According to Aditya Chakrabortty, “Many of these councils are coming because they have no other means of raising serious cash: three decades after Thatcher’s rate caps, and four years into the most painful cuts faced by local government, they are flat broke…

“You might think that seven years after the collapse of an economic system built on property speculation and amid a historic housing crisis, MIPIM would have no place in the UK. You’d be wrong. When it opens this week it will be to a welcome address from that loveable friend of big money, Boris Johnson. Even with 344,000 households in London awaiting a council home, the Mayor is cheering on their flogging off and replacement with unaffordable luxury flats.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Croydon Council, Environment, Jo Negrini, Jon Rouse, Nathan Elvery, Planning, RIF, URV, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to ‘Flat-broke’ councils all set for MIPIM’s champagne reception

  1. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    Croydon needs affordable housing not luxury flats in the sky! Me thinks the same mistakes are being made as in the 60’s

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