Residents on the Ealing Today forum are questioning how the council leader, Cllr Julian Bell, is still holding onto a scarce ‘social home’ some 9 years after he bought a private home in a neighbouring road in Acton, now worth £1m. Bell and his wife are secure tenants of housing association A2Dominion, however, in June 2007 they purchased a 5 bedroomed, three-storey house for £585,000 and residents want to know why such a drastic change in the Bell’s circumstances did not lead to A2Dominion taking the publicly subsidised home off the Bells and giving it to one of the thousands of families in genuine need. It seems Cllr Bell claims he lives in the private house with his daughter but says he needs the social house for his elderly, disabled mother-in-law. He also claims that since 2007 he’s been trying to make the private house suitable for the elderly parent to live in too and in March 2009 he submitted plans to install downstairs washroom facilities. However, 9 years later this has still not been done and the housing association continues to let him away with keeping his second home, depriving a needy family of a 4 bedroomed home while Bell makes money letting surplus bedrooms to students.
Is this the result of another conflict of interest concerning the council leader? It turns out his social landlord A2Dominion is also one of the property developers sponsoring MIPIM, the controversial jolly in Cannes, that Cllr Bell enjoys going to each year.