Private Eye reports;
Council leader and officers jet off to a property shindig in Cannes with their expenses paid by the very developers who want to regenerate sunny Ealing.
The story refers to the council leader, Julian Bell, and several officers jetting off to the south of France to get to know wealthy property developers, ostensibly to bring their business to the borough of Ealing. However residents, already outraged at the nature and scale of recent developments Cllr Bell and his Labour planning committee members have given consent to, are voicing concerns that question the probity of it all. Bell, they say, is too close to the very developers whose approved schemes are cause for concern and residents say Ealing’s planning and regeneration functions should be separated to avoid conflicts of interest. At present the council leader retains executive power for both functions under his own personal portfolio which has stoked fears that the developer funded sponsorships, jet setting and expenses he likes to take advantage of could potentially impact on the council leader’s decisions. After all, as they rightly say, there is no such thing as a free lunch!