Of course, Persimmon will say this is a one-off and/or will contest this to the Supreme Court:
Of course, Persimmon will say this is a one-off and/or will contest this to the Supreme Court:
“Leaked Doc Reveals Civil Servants Told To Report ‘Unhelpful Narratives’ On Brexit To No.10:
Boris Johnson has been warned to “tread carefully” amid claims Number 10 aides are asking civil servants to operate an “overtly political” Brexit media strategy.
A Cabinet Office document leaked to HuffPost UK has revealed all government communications staff must report “unhelpful narratives” in the press and online to Downing Street.
While civil servants work for the government and are expected to ensure ministers can deliver on policy, they also have a duty to be impartial.
The document is further evidence suggesting Johnson’s most senior adviser Dominic Cummings – the ex-boss of Vote Leave once described by David Cameron as a “career psychopath” – is prepared to introduce sweeping change in order to deliver Brexit by October 31.
The controversial advisor is reported to have already had a huge impact on Number 10 since arriving last month, embarking on a so-called “jihad on spads [special advisers]” by cancelling annual leave and sacking aides from the Theresa May era.
According to the document, staff have been instructed to update Downing Street from 6am each morning with “all rebuttal lines to be approved by Number 10”.
The unit must also “counter emerging narratives” and ensure all departments push the Downing Street line, adding “if action not completed, escalate as needed”.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said Boris Johnson was “playing with fire”, adding: “Political neutrality is a central principle which has endured in relation to civil servants for more than 150 years.
“It is essential that the present government does not breach this basic part of the constitution. To do so would further imperil faith in politics, which is already at a low ebb.”
Alastair Campbell, who acted as former PM Tony Blair’s communications chief, called on civil servants to keep a record of “overtly political” requests.
Dave Penman of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, has also warned Johnson he risks “politicising” the work of his members.
Downing Street said it would not comment on leaked documents.
A source, however, stressed that the guidance was issued by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Exiting the EU, not Number 10, and was part of a standard cross-government communications plan.
But Campbell said: “There is a clear division between the legitimate work civil servants must do in support of ministers implementing government policy and this overtly political work which they are being asked to do.
“Clearly Johnson and his team wish to see that division straddled.”
He added that the cabinet secretary should issue clear guidelines on “the limits of what is permissible for a civil servant and assure civil servants they will not be punished for refusing to do political work.”
Well, it makes a change from blaming immigrants and asylum-seekers for pocketing our cash.
“Taxpayers face handing millionaire Boris Johnson a huge annual fund for life – even if he’s forced out by Christmas.
The Mirror has confirmed he can claim a bumper public duties fund after he leaves office, no matter how little time he spends in No10.
That means we could start handing the Prime Minister the full Public Duty Cost Allowance even if he is dumped in a no confidence vote or a general election this Autumn.
The Old Etonian also stands to trouser a £18,860 severance payment for leaving as PM – on top of the £16,876 he pocketed for quitting as Foreign Secretary last year.
But he’d miss out on a special Prime Ministerial pension worth half his salary, as the bumper packages were scrapped in 2013….
The fund is currently worth £115,000 a year and every living ex-PM, plus Nick Clegg who qualifies specially, claimed more than £110,000 each last year.
Sir John Major, 76, claimed £114,935 despite leaving No10 22 years ago.
But all those men served for more than two years each, most of them much longer, while Boris Johnson has a fragile Commons majority of one.
The PM risks being ousted within months if his bids to ram though a Brexit deal – or a No Deal – end in failure.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson made around £750,000 in earnings outside his job as an MP in the 12 months before becoming PM. …
The Cabinet Office did not clarify whether the PDCA covers any security or safety measures for ex-PMs, but pointed us to public documents that say it pays for “necessary office costs and secretarial costs”.”
“Public money spent on supporting the offices of Britain’s five surviving former leaders has jumped by nearly 80 per cent in six years – despite the fact that many of them have gone on to become independently wealthy after leaving 10 Downing Street.
New figures show the costs of supporting the offices of ex-PMs Sir John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, as well as the former deputy PM Sir Nick Clegg, increased from £331,000 a year in 2013/14 – the first figures that are available – to £589,000 last year. …”
Owl has SO many questions!
First, Mr Williams’ ‘explanation’ defies belief, he basically accuses the developer of lying about the meeting. Then, he issues his denial of the circumstances of the event to the press, rather than to the councillor who asked him for an explanation. THEN, there appears to have been a totally undocumented meeting between him, Stuart Hughes and the developer – something that is extremely worrying – how many other such meetings with developers and hand-picked councillors have occurred? How do they happen?
But judge for yourself from the full text of the DevonLive article.
Owl thinks the very least EDDC majority councillors should do is suspend him until this is satisfactorily sorted.
“Calls have been made for an independent investigation after East Devon District Council’s chief executive allegedly told developers to appeal his own council’s refusal of planning permission for the Sidford Business Park.
East Devon District Council in 2018, on the grounds of harm to highway safety, relating to increased heavy goods vehicle usage of the area’s narrow roads, refused the plans for land, currently used for agriculture, the east of Two Bridges Road in Sidford.
A larger scheme submitted by the applicants was rejected previously by the council in 2016.
Applicants Tim and Mike Ford challenged the 2018 refusal of the council and three days of arguments for and against the development took place in July.
At the planning inquiry though, Richard Kimblin QC, on behalf of the applicants OG Holdings Retirement Benefit Scheme, and Joseph Marchant, their planning agent, said that following the refusal of the 2016 scheme, Mark Williams, the council’s chief executive, advised them they should appeal.
The claims, made both in writing and verbally, were unchallenged by East Devon District Council during the inquiry.
Paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Mr Kimblin QC’s final closing arguments at the Inquiry said: “After the 2016 application was refused, there was a meeting with Councillor Stuart Hughes and the CEO of the Council. The CEO advised that the way to progress was to appeal. That is an extraordinary state of affairs.”
Following a request for comment from the Local Democracy Reporting Service on the remarks allegedly made by Mr Williams, an East Devon District Council spokesman said that the he did not advise the appellant of anything, the applicant chose to interpret the comments he did make as encouraging an appeal, and the comments were made in a ‘situation where a degree of hyperbole and exaggeration is not unusual’.
Cllr John Loudoun, who represents the Sidmouth Rural ward, though has called for an independent inquiry into the meeting and the comments, saying that the while the council says there was a ‘misinterpretation of events’, “misinterpretation is a nice way of calling someone a liar.”
The claim that was made by Mr Marchant was set out in his written evidence to the inquiry, which said: “Subsequent to the refusal of the 2016 application, an approach was made to Members, including Councillor Stuart Hughes and the CEO (Chief Executive) of EDDC, Mark Williams.”
The following paragraph added: “We were advised by Mark Williams….that in his opinion, the applicant (Fords) may make more advance in progress towards delivery through appealing the Council’s decision to refuse the 2016 planning application rather than resubmission.
Paragraphs 13 and 14 of Mr Kimblin’s final closing arguments at the Inquiry added: “After the 2016 application was refused, there was a meeting with Councillor Hughes and the CEO of the Council. The CEO advised that the way to progress was to appeal. That is an extraordinary state of affairs.”
Asked to comment on the claims made at the inquiry, an East Devon District Council spokesman said: “The council officers and legal representative, acting on behalf of the local planning authority, did not consider the comments made by Mr Marchant or the appellant’s QC as material in specifically defending the reason for refusal, which is of course their role in the inquiry.
“The simple point is that the circumstances described have no bearing or relevance to the local planning authority’s decision and nor therefore to the focussing of all of their efforts in seeking to persuade the Inspector that the proposed development was unacceptable.
“As for the meeting itself, as was made clear at the inquiry the CEO was asked by the applicant/appellant to facilitate a meeting between them and Cllr Hughes to ascertain what options there might be available to them in the light of the refusal of planning permission.
“At the meeting, as reflected in Mr Marchant’s proof of evidence, Cllr Hughes expressed his opinion that he could not foresee any circumstances under which planning permission would be acceptable, notwithstanding the Local Plan allocation.
“The CEO did not advise the appellant of anything, but expressed the view that there were therefore three potential options open to the applicants: resubmit with changes to the proposed scheme; appeal the decision; or walk away from the site.
“The applicant appears to have chosen to interpret this as encouraging an appeal and we would note that the comments from their QC were in the context of also making an application for costs against the council – a situation where a degree of hyperbole and exaggeration is not unusual.”
However Cllr Loudoun said that having read the council’s response, he was even more convinced of the need for what he originally asked for, a genuinely independent inquiry in these issues, and he was appalled that the response to his concerns was sent to the press and not him.
He added: “Evidence provided at the Inquiry was fully tested by both the Council and the applicants’ representatives because this is the way in which facts are established or challenged. The statements made verbally and in writing by Mr Marchant for the appellants are, according to the District Council statement, misinterpretations of the events and comments at the meeting involving the Chief Executive.
“This is an extraordinary state of affairs as we now have a challenge to Mr Marchant’s evidence at a point where he cannot defend himself and after the point when the Council allowed the statements to be accepted as fact. It would appear that the Council is now saying that Mr Marchant spoke untruths and that these were untruths were in turn repeated by the applicants’ QC.
“They are essentially accusing them of lying. When it was raised in the inquiry, no-one complained about it and or questioned it. To me, saying it was a misinterpretation is a nice way of calling them a liar.”
He added: “The Council’s statement is disingenuous in that it tries to down play the quotes of what the Chief Executive said as put forward by the applicants’ QC as “hyperbole and exaggeration” whilst pursuing a costs order. This ignores the fact that Mr Marchant made the claims whilst giving evidence and that the appellants’ QC repeated them not only in his arguments for costs but also, and more importantly, in his broader closing submissions in support of the applicants’ case.
“It was not a throwaway comment as it was in the both written and verbal statements and made by two people.
“I am even more concerned having read the Council’s public response to these matters and I am now even more convinced of the need for what I originally asked for, a genuinely independent inquiry in these issues.
“If he did say that they should appeal then he has it then he was undermined the officers, the council and his role on a very serious issues, and if not, then why wasn’t it challenged at the inquiry?
“I am bemused at the response from the council to this matter which seems to be now turning into as much a focal point as the planning application and subsequent Inquiry.”
A decision on whether to allow the appeal to allow the plans for 8,445sqm of employment space built on the outskirts of the village is set to be made by the Autumn. If the appeal was allowed, then a further planning application would need to be submitted for the details of the scheme.”
Swire will be pleased – he’s spent many happy hours in Saudi Arabia with representatives of BAE Systems.
“British defence exports rose to a record £14bn in 2018, with sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and other countries in the Middle East accounting for nearly 80% of that figure, official figures reveal.
Campaigners said the statistics, released on Tuesday, showed that Britain was “arming and supporting repressive regimes”, while the Department for International Trade (DIT) said they demonstrated that the UK had returned to its position as the world’s second largest arms exporter after the US.
Defence orders rose by £5bn to £14bn, making it the biggest year since records began in 1983. That increase was helped by a £5bn order for Typhoon fighters made by BAE Systems, plus Paveway missiles from Raytheon that are partly made in the UK.
Campaign Against Arms Trade said the figures “exposed the rank hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The government claims to stand for human rights and democracy, but it is arming and supporting repressive regimes and dictatorships around the world.”
Britain’s sales to Saudi Arabia – believed to be the largest arms buyer – are the subject of an ongoing legal battle. Ministers have asked the supreme court to overturn a lower court’s judgment that some of the arms sales to Riyadh were conducted illegally.
In June, the court of appeal concluded the sales of arms that could have been used by Saudi Arabia’s air force in Yemen were unlawful because ministers had failed to examine whether, in targeting civilians, the country was in breach of international humanitarian law.
The DIT estimates the UK’s share of the defence export industry to be about 19%, placing it second for the first time since 2014, pushing Russia into third place and sitting comfortably ahead of fourth-ranked France.
The world leader is the US, which has a share of about 40%, according to the British estimates in the annual statistics published by the DIT, which is the licensing authority for arms exports.”
Johnson has appointed his previously Remain brother to his cabinet, and now …
“The new home secretary, Priti Patel, holds a £1,000-an hour contract with a global communications firm that supplies products and services to the UK government, the Guardian can reveal.
Patel, who was appointed on Wednesday by the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, as a part of a wholesale gutting of the cabinet, has been working for Viasat for the past three months as a strategic adviser earning £5,000 for five hours’ work a month.
She recorded the role on the MPs’ register of interests, and the contract is due to expire on 31 July.
Viasat, a Californian company with a UK base in Farnborough, supplies services and products to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD works in collaboration with the Home Office on numerous projects, including the Innovation and Research Insights (IRIS) Unit, which sets up technology-based contracts for both departments.
Patel, who was forced to resign from government two years ago for failing to disclose secret meetings with Israeli ministers, is understood to have been advising Viasat on a matter relating to India.”
Here we go …
“LONDON — Boris Johnson has been accused by opponents of allowing friends to “buy influence” after a business executive who loaned the incoming prime minister his lavish £9.5 million home was offered a job in Johnson’s new administration.
Andrew Griffith has stepped down from his role as chief financial officer at broadcasting giant Sky to work as a “corporate adviser” to Johnson.
It came after Johnson and his campaign team were handed Griffith’s lavish Westminster property for the past few weeks as he fought Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest, according to a Guardian report.
Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: “Before he is even appointed Prime Minister, one of Boris Johnson’s first acts is to dish out a powerful job in Number 10 to his super-rich pal who lent him his luxurious house in Westminster for the Tory leadership campaign.”
“The public would be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that Johnson’s friends can buy influence within the new administration.”
“It’s blindingly obvious — Boris Johnson and his government will act only in the interest of the wealthy elite.”
Johnson previously worked from the flat belonging to his partner Carrie Symonds located in Camberwell, south London. But the pair were forced to move out of the flat after police were called to the property following a row from the pair, which drew protests outside.
The couple have been living in Oxfordshire but Johnson’s sizeable campaign team reportedly needed a property near Westminster from which they could operate.
Griffith is a former Conservative election candidate who worked at Sky for twenty years, before standing down.
Chief executive Jeremy Darroch told Sky News: “Over the course of his twenty years at Sky and since 2008 as a member of the Board as CFO (chief financial officer) and then as chief operating officer, Andrew has played a fundamental role in many of our proudest collective achievements.”
“Whilst Andrew will be missed, he leaves behind a business that is performing well, has an ambitious set of growth plans and a strong team of colleagues,” he said. …”
“Standard Life Assurance Limited has just been fined £30,792,500 by city watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority.
What did they do to deserve it? Sold people the wrong pensions that would have seen them miss out on money every single year for the rest of their lives.
Worse, it was the people with health problems that were mis-sold.
Announcing the fine, the FCA’s Mark Steward said staffs were offered incentives to sell policies over the phone without checking they were suitable “which led to unfair outcomes for some customers”.
Significant numbers of staff received bonuses that doubled their salary for making these sales, which saw thousands of customers miss out on an average of more than £1,500 each as a result. …”
“The lobbying firm co-run by the man heading Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign has been writing to councils on behalf of a tobacco company before the announcement of planned new anti-smoking measures due in the coming weeks.
The Guardian has seen emails showing Crosby Textor Fullbrook Partners (CTFP) contacted councillors on behalf of Philip Morris, seeking to get the tobacco multinational involved in voluntary moves to curb cigarette smoking, as opposed to more onerous statutory efforts.
One of CTFP’s partners, Mark Fullbrook, has taken temporary leave from the firm to act as Johnson’s campaign manager. The lobbying efforts took place in April, while Fullbrook was still with the company.
While there is no suggestion that Fullbrook was personally involved in these actions, or that he is advising Johnson to adopt a similar line, it comes just over a week after Johnson called for a reconsideration of “sin taxes” on highly sugared drinks.
It later emerged that another arm of Crosby’s lobbying group represents a dairy firm in Australia which sells high-sugar milk drinks of the sort that could be targeted by an extension to a UK sugar tax.
CTFP states that Fullbrook’s role at the company has no bearing on his work with Johnson, and that he currently has no contact with clients.
But amid continued delays to a landmark government consultation on public health, expected to include tough new anti-smoking measures, campaign groups and Labour have urged the Johnson camp to commit to not watering down anti-smoking plans if he becomes prime minister.
They have also called on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, now a leading supporter of Johnson, to push ahead with the plans, which are expected to include a “polluter pays” levy in which tobacco firms would be forced to finance anti-smoking measures, and compulsory cards inside cigarette packets detailing the health perils.
The so-called prevention green paper, originally due in the first half of 2019, was scheduled to be released this week, but the Department for Health and Social Care says it does not have a confirmed publication date. …”
Knighted by David Cameron and one of England’s largest landowners …
“Sir James Dyson has bought what is thought to be Singapore’s biggest and most expensive penthouse flat.
The purchase comes after his company, best known for its vacuum cleaners, moved its HQ from the UK to Singapore.
Sir James, a prominent advocate for Brexit who has said leaving the EU with no deal would “make no difference”, was accused of hypocrisy after the move.
The property is at the heart of the city’s business district and spans three floors and has five bedrooms.
Official records show Sir James and his wife Lady Deirdre Dyson are joint tenants of the apartment at the prestigious Wallich Residence.
“Given the decision to locate the headquarters in Singapore and the growing focus of the company’s business in the region, of course James Dyson has bought a property there,” a Dyson spokesperson said in a statement. …
Sir James took ownership of the property in June, the records show.
According to marketing documents, the property is the largest “non-landed residence” in Singapore and has its own swimming pool, jacuzzi room and bar facilities.
Singapore’s Business Times reports Sir James paid $73.8m ($54m, £43m) for the “super penthouse”, which has views of the city’s Marina Bay Sands and the financial district. …
Most of Dyson’s products are designed in the UK, but manufactured in Asia.”
“Theresa May wants to do things ‘properly’ and will limit the roster to a few names who have put in genuine public service.
The Prime Minister is planning a scaled-back resignation honours list which will reward a small group of people for public service and stand in contrast to her predecessor’s controversial gongs for cronies.
David Cameron was criticised for handing out 46 knighthoods and honours, as well as 13 peerages, to his aides, donors and political allies when he stood down three years ago. …”
Theresa May is planning a scaled-back resignation honours list after backlash over David Cameron’s cronies
“The chief executive of Persimmon has refused to deny that the housebuilder paid to take control of a Facebook group dedicated to complaints about the company before shutting it down,
The Times revealed last week that Persimmon had acquired the administration rights to the “Persimmon Homes Unhappy Customers” group, which had almost 14,000 members. It subsequently shut down the group, deleting years’ of customer posts sharing problems with their homes.
Outraged group members have speculated on other Facebook groups dedicated to complaints that the housebuilder “paid off” the administrator of the group, whose identity is not public.
Facebook does not allow the sale of administrative rights to groups created by users so a payment would have been a breach of the website’s rules.
Dave Jenkinson, chief executive of Persimmon, confirmed yesterday that it had acquired the administration rights to the group but would not say whether it had paid for them. “That’s a private agreement between us and the administrator and that’s not something I am prepared to discuss,” he said.
The FTSE 100-listed builder, which is based in York, has a market capitalisation of more than £6 billion. In February it became the first British housebuilder to report an annual profit of more than £1 billion. It sold 16,449 homes last year, about half of which went to first-time buyers using the Help to Buy scheme, which is designed to boost home ownership. Since Help to Buy was introduced Persimmon’s profit per house has almost tripled, from £22,114 in 2012 to £60,219 in 2018.
The move to shut down the Facebook group has produced claims from customers that it is trying to censor criticism of the company, which is working to improve its build quality and customer service after criticism by ministers.
James Allan, 23, a planning officer at East Lothian council who has complained about problems at his one-bedroom Persimmon flat in Edinburgh, said: “They are taking away the voices of people who have had issues. It’s good to see the experiences of others so you know that you are not alone.”
Mr Jenkinson, 51, said Persimmon had been monitoring the group for several months to address customer issues as they arose in posts. However, he said that in the past few weeks activity on the page had become “much more aggressive” and there were “signs of bullying behaviour” towards staff. He also said the company had found, when checking users against its customer database, that most complainants were not Persimmon customers; some were friends of customers, tradesmen or from other organisations. “We’ve done this for our customers, we’ve done this for the right reasons,” he said.
In a trading update, the builder said that revenue in the first half of the year had fallen as a result of selling fewer homes because it was focusing more on customer satisfaction. It sold 7,584 homes in the six months to the end of June, down from 8,072 in the same period last year. Revenue fell by 4.4 per cent to £1.75 billion. The average selling price rose to £216,950 from £215,813. The housebuilder said that it expected its operating margin for the full year to remain stable at a hefty 30.8 per cent.
Persimmon has announced measures to improve its customer satisfaction levels and build quality since The Times revealed in February that the government was reviewing its access to the Help to Buy scheme from 2021 as a result of allegations of poor standards. It is to allow buyers to retain 1.5 per cent of the value of their purchase until faults are fixed. Buyers of new-build homes who report snags within a week of receiving the keys to their property will be able to withhold a portion of the purchase price until any faults are resolved.
Its customer satisfaction rating has improved in recent months, it said. Mr Jenkinson said: “Persimmon is listening carefully to all stakeholders and making the changes needed to position the business for the future, while maintaining a robust trading performance.”
Last night the shares closed down 23½p, or 1.2 per cent, at £19.64.”
Source Te Times, pay wall
The Times today is doing a heart-rending expose of modern slums, slum landlords and the links between these landlirds and donations to the Tory party.
There is a heart-breaking story of one such young mother living with her sick and asthmatic 6 year-old young son in the most appalling conditions in a flat in Croydon – placed there by Waltham Forest council, which is 20 miles away. They pay £800 per month for her to exist there – one cannot say “live”. Conditions worthy of the very worst Victorian slums.
In a second article, the newspaper looks further into the types of properties and their landlords and the loopholes that allow them to benefit from these apalling places. They find:
“The developers have exploited a change in planning rules to convert offices into hundreds of flats without any minimum size requirements, prompting claims from experts that they are building “some of the worst homes in Britain” and the “slums of the future”.
Flats costing £800 a month are as small as 14 square meters (150 sq ft), barely bigger than the size of a typical parking space.
Families are living on industrial estates and alongside busy roads, with some residents claiming that mould, noise and anti-social behaviour inside the buildings are damaging their health.”
They then go on to turn the spotlight on three such landlords:
“ Caridon, a property group founded by Mario Carrozzo, receives at least £8 million in housing benefit payments to house hundreds of tenants in flats as small as one-third of the minimum size which would be required under the planning regime;
Joel Weider, the owner of a double glazing company, has converted office space in Leicester, Aylesbury and south London, including flats branded a “hell-hole” by an MP;
A third developer, Anwar Ansari, a former eye surgeon, rents small studio, one and two-bed flats to tenants, including a former office block which has been cited for fire safety breaches.
A change in permitted development rights introduced in 2013 means that developers do not have to adhere to normal planning standards when converting offices into residential housing.”
A further article goes on to look at how much money these “developers” are raking in:
Mario Carrozzo’s sprawling Surrey mansion was once owned by a Premier League footballer and boasts a tennis court, indoor swimming pool and cinema. The £6 million home has three sitting rooms, a gym, spa and games room with bar. It is a far cry from the tiny flats his property empire is built on.
Caridon Group flats are among the smallest in the country, with some measuring 14 square metres (150sq ft). Three of these flats would fit into Mr Carrozzo’s cinema room.
The conversions include Token House in Croydon, where the smallest flats are 15sq m (160sq ft). In one, a sofa and bed fill the flat. The rent is almost £800 a month. “I can open my fridge and make a cup of tea or answer the door while I’m still lying in my bed,” one tenant said. …
Located in a south London industrial estate with lorries passing near by, a former office building has become home to dozens of people including families. Many of those living in Connect House’s 86 flats, some of which are only 14sq m (150sq ft), have belongings piled up in suitcases and boxes because of a lack of space. Residents have reported breathing problems and rashes which they claim have been caused by damp and mould. The smell of cannabis fills the corridors. A bag with traces of a white powder lies discarded.
The developer behind it is Joel Weider, the owner of a double glazing company who bought the property for £3.1 million in 2015. …
AA Homes and Housing is owned by a Labour donor, Anwar Ansari, 59, and has property holdings worth more than £170 million. Dr Ansari trained in London as an eye surgeon but is now a full-time developer.
AA Homes and Housing is behind at least five big office-to-residential conversions and rents mainly to private tenants. The flats are generally larger than those created by Caridon and Mr Weider but are often still below space guidelines set out by the government.
The company owns a five-storey former NatWest office building in Croydon. A previous owner had sought permission to convert it into 34 flats but Dr Ansari squeezed in an extra 20. In 2017, the fire service issued an enforcement notice over safety concerns including a locked fire escape, poor ventilation and defective fire doors. The company was also fined £20,000 for failing to secure a landlord licence for 36 of the building’s privately rented flats. It is contesting all of these findings.
Dr Ansari and his wife Hina live in a sprawling estate near Caterham, Surrey. …”
Surprised The Sun is running this – it’s more of a Daily Mirror story!
“THE Conservative Party has already sold access to the next Prime Minister for £300,000 – before the leader has even been chosen.
Party officials raised the staggering six-figure sum by selling dinner with the new leader at an exclusive fundraiser on Wednesday.
The auction at the Tory summer party – revealed by the Daily Mail last night – has raised questions about cash for access to the new PM.
Dinner for ten Tory supporters with either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt was offered at the private members’ club bash in West London.
A party source told the paper: “The next prime minister is being pimped out before they’ve even got the job.”
Among the other lots sold off at the posh Hurlingham Club included a signed photo of Boris and David Cameron and tickets to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.
Deep-pocketed Tories were also offered a walk with Tory leadership wildcard Rory Stewart – who electrified the contest with his trips around the country.
A wine tour with Education Secretary Damian Hind was also offered for sale – while a donor paid £40,000 for a private champagne party at the London Cabaret Club.
Boris and Mr Hunt were both in attendance at the fundraising do – along with outgoing PM Theresa May and other senior cabinet figures.
OUTRAGE OVER DONATION
It’s not known who successfully bid for the £300k Tory leader’s dinner.
The sale comes after outrage over the wife of one of Vladimir Putin’s former ministers paying for a night out with Mrs May and six female cabinet ministers in May.
Lubov Chernukhin was entertained by the Prime Minister at the five-star Goring Hotel for £135,000.
The banker has donated more than £1million to the Tories in the last seven years alone.
Theresa May defended the donation as Mrs Chernukhin is now a British citizen.”
Sorry this isn’t a good photo but the headline to this post says it all. Just posting proof of source to show Owl didn’t make it up!