Newham Mayor property show sponsors are revealed

Companies with major developments in Newham helped fund an all-expenses paid council trip to a property fair in Cannes.

Bougyes Development, working on the Canning Town regeneration scheme, Strand East, the name of the proposed ‘mini-town’ near to the Olympic Park, and Westfield Stratford City were among 12 sponsors of the council trip to the MIPIM property show last month, the Recorder can reveal.

Countryside Properties, which is on the shortlist to develop Chobham Manor on the post-Games Olympic Park, also sent a director with the Newham Council delegation.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales attended the event to promote development opportunities in the borough. MIPIM included conferences and networking events attended by businessmen and real-estate developers from Europe and Asia.

The remaining co-sponsors were Swan New Homes, the Ballymore Group, Capita Symonds, the Cathedral Group, the University of East London (UEL), Ardmore Construction, Urban Initiatives, and Savills.

They denied any suggestion that their involvement in the trip would mean they received favourable treatment when it came to future development opportunities.

Planning decisions for proposals in and around the Olympic Park were made by the Olympic Delivery Authority rather than Newham Council.

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But this will soon be transferred to the newly-formed London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). Sir Robin is a board member of the newly-formed quango.

A spokesman for Bougyes Development said they paid to go on the trip to promote their involvement in the �600m Canning Town redevelopment scheme.

She added: “The sponsorship package enabled us to maximise awareness of the scheme to support our presence at an industry event which is very important for business.”

Countryside Properties said it agreed to sponsor the trip because of its status as a major investor in Newham.

Chris Langdon, development director at the Ardmore Group, said they were approached by a marketing firm to get involved and said the borough’s presence there helped to promote east London.

Urban Initiatives, another of the trip’s sponsors, recently completed the Stratford Metropolitan Masterplan on behalf of Newham Council.

Managing director Kelvin Campbell said: “We have always had a good working relationship with the council. I have been involved for the last 15 years. It’s impossible for a local authority to favour anyone because of procurement.

“There was no real advantage. It’s not a question of saying ‘if you were there, you will get the next job’”

A spokesman for Savills said they also took part “purely as a good will gesture” after being involved in the planning side of the Olympic Park and other initiatives in Newham, but expected nothing in return.

The UEL said its students and staff would ultimately benefit from its presence at the event,

“As a university, we are committed to seeing both Stratford and the Royal Docks become thriving cultural and commercial districts,” a spokesman added.