Forum Topic

It has been suggested that the tactics being used by TfL to limit opposition to their scheme are those of barrow boy private sector property developers but this isn’t really true.The community involvement for the Bollo Lane project  is being handled by a company called Four Communications. This was set up in 2001 by a group of Labour councillors from Lambeth and Southwark to advise developers on how to manage major schemes through the planning application process. It has had a number of senior councillors and other politicians on its payroll including Florence Eshalomi who recently became MP for Vauxhall.They specialise in gaining ‘political support’ from members of planning committees and have regularly featured in Private Eye over the years for various ruses they have undertaken to get what their clients want.One of the key services they provide is to produce the Statement of Community Involvement which allows the developer to show that they have consulted with local residents and perhaps even that there is broad support for a scheme. With this they can try to persuade decision makers on the planning committee that any opposition is limited. What the link below shows is that Four Communications have  a track record of tactically structuring consultations so as few people as possible are aware of them and that any survey makes it difficult for those that do find out to express opposition. making as little effort as possible to make people aware of a consultation event and then holding it in an obscure location as they did with the Bollo Lane proposal is standard operating practice.Four Communications is now quite a large company and makes over a million a year in operating profit given the size of the fees that developers are willing to pay them. They pay no tax, even benefitting from a tax refund last year because of write off of investments allowing them to report an overall loss.What is shocking about that this company was set up by people who gained their knowledge of the planning system after being elected by residents to elect their interests. They have now chosen to use that knowledge to personally enrich themselves by showing developers how they can get their projects approved in the face of local opposition by gaming the system. As an habitual Labour voter I cannot help but feeling anything but shame at the behaviour of these people. If it was Conservative politicians doing this there would be an outcry.

Mark Evans ● 1401d

Update from TfL (the site owner and developer)..."We will be holding two separate exhibitions from 15:00 until 20:00 on Wednesday 15 January, and from 10:00 until 14:00 on Saturday 18 January.                                                                                                                                            The exhibitions will take place at the following address:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Acton Gardens Community Centre                                                                                                                Unit A, Munster Court                                                                                                                        Bollo Bridge Road                                                                                                                            W3 8UU                                                                                                                                        "

Paul Webster ● 1423d