Newham Council defends Mayor’s visit to Cannes for property show

Sir Robin Wales was part of a Newham Council delegation flown out on an all-expenses paid trip to a property fair in Cannes.

The MIPIM property show, held at the French Riviera from March 6 to 9, featured conferences and networking events attended by members of the real estate industry.

Business people and developers from Europe and Asia mixed with public sector workers at lunches and cocktail parties in a bid to boost opportunities. Events included a Mayor’s lunch and an awards ceremony.

The council said the cost of the trip was met by its “private sector partners” and not council taxpayers but refused to disclose who they were.

A spokesman said Sir Robin was at the event in partnership with the Mayor of London’s office.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson was also reportedly in attendance, along with town hall executives from across the country.

A note on the MIPIM website aimed at politicians and public sector bodies reads: “Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, promoting the resilience of your city or region to potential investors is vital.

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“Increase your visibility, present exciting projects and ensure future urban development in your region.

“Explore our dedicated programme to connect with over 4,200 real estate investors and share knowledge and experience with fellow public sector leaders.”

The Newham Council spokesman said: “We attended MIPIM to promote regeneration and employment opportunities across the borough and highlight the progress made at Canning Town, Custom House, Silvertown Quays, the Royal Docks and Stratford.

“This included the announcement of a �600 million principal development agreement for Canning Town centre.

“We had also hoped to announce a preferred bidder for a major regeneration scheme at Silvertown Quays at MIPIM but that was not possible and has just been announced.”