Sunday, 30 April 2017

News comes as council launches internal inquiry into Earls Court allegations

Scotland Yard mulls Hammersmith probe

Allegations that a west London council illegally offered tenants priority for homes if they supported a controversial regeneration scheme have been passed to Scotland Yard.

Campaigners opposed to the £8 billion Earls Court allege officers at Hammersmith & Fulham Council have committed misconduct in public office.

The allegations are being examined by the specialist crime and operations unit at Scotland Yard, which is considering launching a full-blown investigation.

The Conservative-led council this week confirmed it had appointed consultancy Deloitte to conduct its own, separate investigation into the allegations.

Inside Housing last month revealed a campaigner had handed a dossier of evidence into Fulham police station containing 22 witness accounts.

These accounts, from tenants on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, claim housing officers offered priority for new homes in a development at nearby Seagrave Road on the condition tenants supported the 7,586-home Earls Court regeneration scheme.

The West Kensington and Gibbs Green tenants’ and residents’ associations fiercely oppose the council’s plans to demolish the estates as part of the scheme.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: ‘Documents have been submitted to us, we are currently assessing and examining these documents with a view to whether an investigation should take place.’

The campaigner claims council officers are guilty of misconduct in public office and of offences under the Bribery Act.

On Monday the council informed the campaigner of its appointment of Deloitte to investigate the matter.

A letter, from the council’s joint chief executive Derek Myers, said: ‘I am hopeful that Deloitte’s work will serve to move us beyond the concerns that have been expressed.’

A council spokesperson denied the authority had allocated homes or given anybody preferential treatment.

He said the authority had merely ‘noted people interested in moving to Seagrave Road and will continue to note any further interest’.

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