Negrini heads council team to MIPIM’s ‘booze and hooker fest’

The PR flunkies putting together Croydon Council’s delegation to next month’s “booze and hooker fest” in the South of France are refusing to say who is paying for the junket. WALTER CRONXITE reports

Croydon will be one of 16 London boroughs attending next month’s MIPIM conference in Cannes, what has in the past been described as a property developers’ “booze and hooker fest” in the South of France.

Jo Negrini: presides over a council which cannot provide office space for her staff

Croydon CEO Jo Negrini: all set to pimp out more of the borough to her property speculator chums

Earlier this week, Inside Croydon revealed that Sutton is sending a delegation of three senior council executives to Cannes for the four-day “conference”, on a budget of £30,000, all paid for by sponsors, including house-builders Barratts and property developers Mizen.

Sources close to Croydon Council suggest that this borough’s delegation could consist of as many as six senior council executives, led by Jo Negrini, the council’s £185,000 per year chief executive.

“If they can have so many out of the office for most of a week, it might suggest the council is still overstaffed,” one unimpressed Katharine Street source said.

But a world-weary council official based in Fisher’s Folly disagreed: “If they are all senior council directors out of the office for a week, I doubt whether anyone will notice that they’ve gone.”

The springtime visit to the Cote d’Azur for Sutton CEO Niall Bolger and his two colleagues is being arranged by 3Fox International, a Croydon-based public relations agency which gets the bulk of its work in contracts from local authorities.

But 3Fox isn’t working with Croydon on MIPIM this year, even though they have in the past co-founded Develop Croydon, the group of major businesses based in the town centre.

Develop Croydon, as well as Stiles Harold Williams, the estate agents who manage much of the Whitgift Foundation’s large property portfolio, will also be in Cannes alongside the council, but their trip is being put together by another Croydon PR agency, Grey Label.

How 3Fox International illustrate their past work with Croydon, showing MD Toby Fox have a fun time in Cannes with council official Negrini

How 3Fox International illustrate their past work with Croydon, showing MD Toby Fox have a fun time with council official Negrini

And Grey Label ain’t saying who is ponying up the cash to pay for it all. Inside Croydon has had no response to our questions to Grey Label, whose commission for this job will probably be coming out of any sponsorship fees paid.

“No business is going to hand over thousands of pounds in sponsorship and not expect something in return,” the Katharine Street source said. “So if Croydon’s trip to MIPIM this year is sponsored, that information should be placed in the public domain immediately.”

Croydon Council’s last trip to MIPIM in Cannes was costed at £8,000, though that was not sponsored by any commercial “partners”, and was paid for by Council Tax-payers. Negrini authorised that spend herself, under delegated powers, without any discussion among our elected councillors.

Much of the “promotional” activity at MIPIM conducted by Croydon, Sutton and the other London boroughs attending this year will be in the “London Pavilion”, handily positioned right next to the Mediterranean.

“The last time there were this many Londoners on a beach in France was D-Day,” our underwhelmed council source said.

“Seriously, even if Sutton’s budget is typical for them all, and I am sure it is at the ‘bargain’ end of what some of the delegations are working on, then that totals nearly £500,000-worth of PR money for around 50 local authority employees to attend a conference that doesn’t last a week. That’s a lot of money for little tangible benefit.

“Surely City Hall should be pulling something together to represent all of London in a more concerted, and less expensive manner, than this free-for-all?”

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison: provides 'hipster' credentials

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison: provides ‘hipster’ credentials

Self-promotion expert Negrini clearly enjoys mixing with property developers and the like, perhaps more so than she does fulfilling her function as Croydon’s most senior public servant.

She recently absented herself from a meeting of the full council – always considered to be one of the rare but more important public tasks of the CEO – so that she could go off to a social event with her architect pals at RIBA, who were presenting her with some worthless award.

Negrini’s moment in the spotlight at MIPIM will come in mid-afternoon on Wednesday, March 15, when she is on a panel for a session called “Croydon Urban Edge”, which is “in association with” Develop Croydon.

Also on the panel are the usual suspects from among those with much to gain from the borough’s development, and over-development:

  • there’s Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, from the Rise Gallery (who appears to be the go-to person these days whenever Croydon wants to demonstrate its “hipster” credentials, and – what a surprise! – is to be handed new gallery space in the re-opened Fairfield Halls);
  • Steve Yewman, the development director of Westfield Europe (who doubtless will provide the property developers at MIPIM with more information about his stalled £1.4billion supermall than anything that has been released to the people who actually live or work in Croydon);
  • Steve Sanham, from Hub (property developers who have somehow been granted permission by a Labour-run council to build on a public open space at Queen’s Gardens, in addition to using the former site of Taberner House);
  • and finally there’s Stuart Cade, who is a partner of Rick Mather Architects (who Negrini had appointed to undertake the design work on Fairfield Halls and College Green).

So no vested interests at all then. Oh no. And no answers, yet, as to who is paying for it all.


  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

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, Fairfield Halls, Jo Negrini, Niall Bolger, Planning, Property, Rise Gallery, Stiles Harold Williams, Sutton Council, Taberner House, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Negrini heads council team to MIPIM’s ‘booze and hooker fest’

  1. I would guess that there is a fair chance that the “sponsors” are made up of those you listed in your article who are also attending. So that means that CROYDON COUNCIL taxpayers will be funding it one way or another through the nice fees that they are no doubt charging the council for the privilege of their “expertise” in spending large wads of taxpayers money.

    It would also be interesting to know if the annual attendance over the last few years has actually resulted in any investment in Croydon (apart from the local chemist who sells the sun screen that Negrini et al pack in their luggage)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. http://www.mipim.com/exhibit/ reasonable rates of €625 to €856 per metre sq for a stand. Put this in to context, retail units on George St are currently circa £30/ sq.ft. Oxford Street is circa £300 – £500 per sq.ft

    Liked by 1 person

  3. derekthrower says:

    Another day Another PR event. Will there ever be an appraisal of when attendance at such events actually produces tangible investment with actual development? In this great era of Austerity it seems the more intangible and less return made on Council expenditure – the greater probability it will be made. Have they ever heard of video conferencing, skype, live streaming, etc.? When a developer wants to really invest they find you. All this middle man servicing that hopes to produce something downstream in the future is just an example of how the self serving Corporate Junket industry makes good money follow bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joeycan says:

    I think I have a freedom of Information request coming on!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Nice The Family Bean, photos | The New Cafe

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