Hammersmith and Fulham Council is breaking its obligations on transparency. Much of the information in that section of the website is out of date – in breach of the requirements of the Government’s Local Government Transparency Code.
The Council has also been secretive over its dealings with property developers. Despite a manifesto pledge to provide minutes or all meetings with property developers that has not applied to their cosy dealing with Charlie Napier.
Often when “minutes” have been produced – such as those for meetings with Capco – they have been absurdly uninformative. Now the Council seems to have stopped bothering altogether with the failure to publish any record on a meeting with Chelsea Football Club which I discovered took place on May 3rd.
John Finlayson, Head of Planning Regeneration, responds:
“I have looked at the transparency section of the website and found that for the months of April and May there are no meeting records. A number of meetings took place during these months including the Chelsea May 3rd meeting. Planning officers have re-sent the meeting records to the relevant officers in the Council’s web team for publication on the website. I apologise for any inconvenience caused by this oversight.”
Let us be charitable and assume that the Council is genuinely anxious to meet its transparency requirements. That would leave us with the only alternative explanation of staggering incompetence. When Labour councillors were in opposition they will full of conspiracy theories about property developers and insisted that they would be completely open about their dealings. They stressed how imperative this was. For whatever reason they have failed to deliver.
This is a real shame. The twin pillars of Labour’s pitch in 2014, in the absence of any manifesto, were a wholly misleading position on the fate of the borough’s hospitals and an assertion that the incumbent administration was in a collusive relationship with large housebuilding firms. No evidence for this could be produced, beyond the same kind of insinuations that could be drawn at the present time. A pity that political life here in London unfolds on the basis of such rubbish but I guess there is a lot of it around at the moment.
They published a manifesto after the vote I seem to recall. You should dig it up. It contains such gems as “We will DELIVER the fly under”.