MP demands independent investigation into planning decisions

WALTER CRONXITE on the latest move over the favourable treatment provided to the council’s house-builders by the council’s planning committee

Architect of his own downfall? Labour councillor Paul Scott has questions to answer over conflicts of interest

A Croydon MP has asked the council’s chief executive to confirm that an independent investigation will be held into allegations that Paul Scott broke planning law and directed fellow councillors how to vote over applications made by the council’s “award-winning” house-builders, Brick by Brick.

Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, has written to Jo Negrini, Croydon’s chief exec, describing a report which appeared on Inside Croydon last week as containing “credible allegations” regarding the whipping of Labour councillors serving on the planning committee.

Inside Croydon has received confirmation from members of the planning committee that, over the past four years, they have been present at pre-meeting briefings, held by Councillor Scott, where they have been instructed to vote through the Brick by Brick applications.

“If one application is refused, they all fail,” a committee member says they were told by Scott at one of these briefings.

In one case, the allegation of “whipping” has been put in writing and passed to Inside Croydon.

MP Chris Philp: ‘credible allegations’

Planning committees are quasi-judicial bodies, and the law forbids that their members should be instructed to vote along party lines.

One veteran Labour councillor, Pat Ryan, not a planning committee member, has also made the allegation about the prejudicial manner in which Scott conducted planning committee business.

Councillor Scott has refused to respond to Inside Croydon’s questions about his conduct.

In his letter to Negrini, Philp said, “If true, this would be a clear breach of a number of rules.

“Please can you confirm that the allegations will be independently investigated.”

Philp’s request places Negrini in a bit of a corner, since the self-proclaimed “regeneration practitioner” has been very closely associated with the Brick by Brick model of turning public money and public land into private homes.

Philp has previously referred Scott’s conduct to the Local Government Ombudsman, though no disciplinary action was taken over the councillor for Woodside ward.

Since 2015, Brick by Brick has submitted planning applications to Croydon Council for more than 40 sites, and a total of 1,036 new homes. Not one Brick by Brick scheme has been refused planning permission.

Back where he belongs: Scott’s featured in Private Eye… again

Scott was chair of the planning committee for all those BxB applications, only resigning the position last month in order to trouser £20,000 extra in council allowances.

Today, Scott was back in his customary place … the Rotten Boroughs section of Private Eye magazine, in an item headlined “Mr Whippy”.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that this entry may now see Scott referred to the Guinness Book of Records, for the most appearances in Lord Gnome’s magnificent organ in a 12-month period.

With Brick by Brick now having won more awards than they have managed to build homes, that at least will be something for Scott to celebrate over his cosy Christmas egg nog with Alison Butler, his wife and the council cabinet member who is responsible for… Brick by Brick.


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
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7 Responses to MP demands independent investigation into planning decisions

  1. I have trouble seeing Chris Phelp as Santa Claus, but what a wonderful Christmas present an impartial investigation into Scott’s conduct would be.
    Any of us who have witnessed Scott in full flow are put in mind of a galley slave master cracking the whip over the crew who largely power the Housing planning ship. He is the one seems to solely decide its course and direction, in any place other than that of the public interest.

  2. David Wickens says:

    So over 40 applications and all approved.

    What are the odds on that? Let’s say the expected approval rate for developments is 90%. That is probably a very generous rate given the sometimes controversial nature of the sites in question and objections received. But let’s stick with it as I would expect Brick By Brick to have local knowledge and to liaise with the Council Planners to check what might be acceptable before submitting an application.

    Any student of odds will tell you that the chances of 40 applications (each having an approval chance of 90%) all being approved is just 1.4% or 1 in 71. At a 95% anticipated approval rate the figures would only rise to 13% or 1 in 8. 1 wouldn’t want to have to defend those figures to any inquiry.

  3. Mr Philp is to be congratulated for not only being Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he is also the de facto leader of Croydon Conservatives. Clearly Dim Dullard is not up to the job, despite the extra money he gets for fronting a toothless, voiceless opposition.

  4. derekthrower says:

    Brownfield Philp versus the Bald Ego. Let the Battle of Wind commence.

  5. I was being a bit ironic with putting Chris Philp up as Santa. His job in Government has not been a shining example of resolving the housing and homeless crisis in this country. It is just the case that the nepotism, ineptitude (reference Brick by Brick’s record, or lack of it) and bullying of the Scott/ Butler partnership is so blatantly obvious here locally.

  6. sebastiantillinger7694 says:

    Can I remind the learned readers of Inside Croydon that not only does Paul Scott influence the votes of other Planning Committee members and directly influence the course of discussion in committee, he has also had his mucky little hands all over the Croydon Plan.

    Scott has a principle author of the Croydon Plan to allow for the development of the Southern borough suburbs and he drafted the policy wording that permitted the Purley Tower. He is the worse kind of insidious little meddler who uses every tool at his disposal to impose his unwanted views and opinions on the people of Croydon.

    It’s well known that Scott is an Architect. Although he bigs up his CV, he works for one of the most mediocre architectural practices in London who are solidly known for having no design flair whatsoever. Why then has Scott been put forward by dodgy Tony as Croydon’s Design Champion?

    Most large Metropolitan Councils select a Design Champion who is a well known Architect of National or International repute. In Croydon we have Paul Scott. It’s a farce.

  7. Hatim Chakera says:

    When is this taking place?
    What are the terms of reference?
    Who wil lead it?

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