By News Reporters
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been accused of a conflict of interest over his ruling in September 2011 to overturn a local planning decision.
Camden Council had refused planning permission for Derwent London to redevelop the Saatchi Block at 80 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, in May 2011 after objections from individual residents, community groups and local councillors who argued that the plans amounted to an over-development, lacked affordable housing and provided insufficient public open space.
Today the Daily Mirror reports with an “exclusive” investigation into the “£125million building project linked to scandal-hit lobbyists Bell Pottinger.”
The story centres on Boris Johnson’s appointment of Sir Edward Lister as his Deputy Mayor, with responsibility for planning.
“Sir Edward Lister was appointed Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning by the Mayor of London in May 2011. He advises the Mayor on strategic planning applications and has oversight of the London Plan and forthcoming Community Infrastructure Levy,” says Lister’s biography on the GLA website.
According to The Mirror: “Sir Edward’s son Matthew works for Bell Pottinger, which acts for the real estate firm behind the Charlotte Street redevelopment – Derwent London.”
The Mirror stresses: “There is no suggestion that Matthew was involved in the decision and sources close to Sir Edward stressed that his son does not handle planning at the public affairs firm. But critics said there was a “massive” potential conflict of interest and demanded to know whether the Mayor knew of it when he sanctioned the development.”
Sir Edward Lister had made a site visit to the Saatchi Block, sat in the hearing; and had later praised Boris Johnson over the Saatchi block decision in an interview on BBC London.
In an editorial the Mirror says: “BORIS Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London, must reveal exactly what he knew about a controversial £125million property deal in the capital.”
Full story on Daily Mirror website: Boris Johnson engulfed in a conflict of interests row after approving controversial development