As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is meant to avoid taking any planning decision when he has a prejudicial interest. Yet went ahead and waved through the demolition of the Earls Court exhibition centres and nearby estates, despite knowing that an organisation he chairs – Transport for London (TfL) – stands to make a windfall from the redevelopment.
Over the past year, I have written formal letters and submitted formal questions to the Mayor informing him of this apparent conflict of interest. But he ignored these serious concerns.
He ignored the concerns earlier today, when I raised the issue once again at Mayor’s Question Time.
Faced with these sorts of responses, I today wrote to the Greater London Authority monitoring officer asking him to investigate whether the Mayor’s involvement in this decision was appropriate and his decision valid.
You can see the letter here: Nicky Gavron letter to GLA monitoring officer re Mayor Earls Court decision
I have also distributed this press release:
Boris challenged over his role in Earls Court decision
London Assembly Member Nicky Gavron today challenged Mayor Boris Johnson over the apparent conflict of interest raised by his involvement in the controversial redevelopment of Earls Court.
At today’s session of Mayor’s Question Time, Ms Gavron noted that the Mayor, in his capacity as chair of TfL, joins tax-havened developers on the list of those who will benefit from the redevelopment. TfL is a major landholder on the development site and stands to make substantial gains when the project goes ahead. Despite this prejudicial interest, Boris neither delegated his planning function within the GLA or to the Secretary of State.
As the Mayor failed to explain his actions, Ms Gavron wrote to the Greater London Authority monitoring officer. She requested that the officer investigate the matter and make a judgement as to whether the Mayor’s involvement in this decision was appropriate and his decision valid.
London Assembly Labour Group Planning Spokesperson, Nicky Gavron AM, said:
“The Mayor waved through the controversial demolition of Earls Court exhibition centres and nearby estates despite serious concerns about the apparent conflict of interest raised by his role chair of TfL, which stands to make a windfall, and Mayor of London, which exercises planning functions.
“Boris has agreed to the knocking down of Earls Court and TfL are set to make short-term gains. This shows a complete disregard for local people and the local economy.
“The redevelopment of Earls Court means the loss of a close-knit community on one of London’s highest-quality estates. It will also cost thousands of jobs in the exhibitions industry as well as to the local and national economy. Earls Court contributes £1 billion a year and brings 2.5 million visitors and 30,000 exhibitors to West London.”