Dear Peter John,
We were extremely concerned to discover that the London Borough of Southwark will be attending the MIPIM property fair at Olympia, London from 15 to 17 October. As you will know, given your attendance at MIPIM in 2013, which was paid for by Lend Lease, the developers of the Heygate site, MIPIM has been held every year in Cannes in France and is to take place for the first time in Britain this October. Alongside Southwark Council, MIPIM will be attended by developers, lawyers, banks and investors.
Since the MIPIM website says that it is ‘the first UK property trade show gathering all professionals looking to close deals on the UK property market’, we were wondering why Southwark Council would go and what kind of ‘deals’ will the council be seeking to strike and how will these deals benefit tenants and local council residents?
In consideration of the harm the deals struck at MIPIM are likely to do to local residents, Hammersmith and Fulham, the host borough, has, following the defeat of local Conservatives and Labour taking control of the council, pulled out of the fair and is attempting to recoup its stall costs. The Tower Hamlets Council Assembly last week resolved not to attend MIPIM and condemned the profit-driven housing policy that it represents and furthers.
As well as their role in pushing up rents for private tenants and destroying council housing, the attending developers have a shocking record of affordable housing provision, reflected in the workshop title “Affordable Housing: Is it Worth It?”
As members of a number of groups from across the borough and from various housing tenures who are concerned with housing and the effects of ‘regeneration’ which has, to date, failed to provide any benefits whatsoever to residents and areas being ‘regenerated’ we call on you and the London Borough of Southwark to reconsider your attendance at MIPIM and show that you are fully committed to a housing policy in the interest of local people and NOT those of private profits.
We look forward to hearing from you.
UPDATE 21st September: So far the only response has been the following nonsense from the mouth of Peter John:
Presumably, most of our readers can understand the substance of the Open Letter to the Council and why we are critical of MIPIM and suspicious of the Council’s desire to be there. For Peter John it was not so easy. He thinks that describing it as ‘vague anti-capitalism‘ is enough for the whole matter to be done and dusted by him. Must try harder, we say.
Parroting about their supposed building of ‘11,000 new council homes‘ to any criticism is not really much of an answer as the homes are only a promise and not an ‘inconvenient truth‘ until they are all built and we can count them. Until them they remain a promise and we don’t have much patience for Southwark’s promises after the last 20 years of Heygate regeneration.