From today’s edition of Private Eye magazine (available at all good newsagents. And some not so good ones, too).
Gavin Barwell, the former Conservative MP for Croydon Central, was housing minister in Theresa May’s Government from July 2016 to June 2017.
During that period, Barwell was known by some as “the developers’ friend”.
“Just 1,102 government-funded social rented homes were built in 2016-2017, the lowest on record. The total was down 51 per cent on the previous year and 96 per cent since the Tories returned to power in 2010.”
Just fancy that: In June 2017, Frank Lowy, the head of the Australian shopping mall multi-national Westfield, was knighted for “services to business and philanthropy”, on a special “overseas list” provided for the Queen’s Birthday Honours by foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
In 2012, Johnson, when he was Mayor of London, shared a stage with Barwell to announce a deal in which Westfield was to play a major part in building a vast new supermall in Croydon, on land mostly owned by the Whitgift Foundation. At that time, as well as being MP for the area, Barwell was also a governor of the Whitgift Foundation and chair of the board of governors of one of its independent schools, though none of this was mentioned at the glitzy launch.
Westfield, in a partnership with Hammerson as announced by Johnson and Barwell, was due to open in Croydon in 2017. To date, it is still to submit a planning application for a revised scheme which is to include 1,000 apartments, the majority for private sale.
Between 2011 and January 2017, Westfield donated £438,270 to the Conservative Party.
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