Plaistow councillor Ahmed Noor 'abused power' to stifle complaints against him from tenants
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:34 08 March 2016
A councillor has been accused of an "abuse of power" after he used his position to create "almost a hostage situation" by brushing complaints against him as a landlord under the carpet.
The damning allegations against Cllr Ahmed Noor – made in a report written by CH&I Associates – were reviewed by members of Newham Council’s Standards Advisory Committee, which looks into misconduct complaints against council members, at a public meeting at East Ham Town Hall on Tuesday night.
Plaistow South representative Mr Noor has been accused of breaching the council’s code of conduct by its own chief executive Kim Bromley-Derry. He was suspended from the Labour Party in May of last year over a planning dispute.
The allegations against Cllr Noor, who owns multiple properties in the borough, include letting a property to multiple tenants without gaining correct planning permission and failing to obey enforcement notices to cease letting.
He is also accused of extending two properties without planning permission, claiming to be a councillor before he was elected as one, violating conservation rules, failing to declare his full property portfolio and inspiring “significant doubt” as to whether he paid business and council taxes on all of his properties.
Cllr Stephen Brayshaw expressed concern about the effect Cllr Noor’s alleged actions would have on the council’s reputation as the first local authority in London to insist landlords are registered in a bid to crackdown on poor living standards.
“It’s very sad that in the borough where we’re trying to get rid of rogue landlords and beds in sheds that we have someone who would kick people out at midnight and then hide behind the Localism Act,” he said.
“We have evidence to show that when the [tenants] tried to make a complaint he said ‘no, no’ and made them go through him. It’s almost a hostage situation. It’s an abuse of power.”
The committee expressed disappointment and frustration that they could only recommend action be taken on Cllr Ahmed’s failure to correctly register his property holdings with the council – namely one property in Derby Road, Forest Gate.
This is because the majority of the accusations took place either before Cllr Noor was elected or occurred “outside of his official capacity” – meaning they do not fall within the committee’s jurisdiction according to the Localism Act of 2011.
Its recommendation was therefore to seek a “local resolution” to matters raised in the report by ensuring Cllr Noor’s register of interests is updated and encouraging a meeting between the councillor and the chief executive. He will remain part of the council.
Committee member Cllr Kay Scoresby said of the outcome: “What do we have to do to get him more than a slap on the wrist?
“Newham is an authority that claims to be the best on enforcement. Can we get assurances [Cllr Noor] will be dealt with properly despite being a councillor? It feels like we’re back in a time warp.”
That sentiment was shared by chairman Ruth Glazzard, whose disappointment was amplified by what she said was Cllr Noor’s refusal to co-operate or engage with the investigation or meeting.
Cllr Noor has yet to respond to the Recorder’s requests for comment.