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Demands for probe into £16,000 networking event attended by Haringey Council on luxury Cannes yacht

Haringey chief executive Nick Walkley. Haringey chief executive Nick Walkley.

Friday, March 14, 2014
11:39 AM

Calls have been made for a full investigation into Haringey Council’s decision to send representatives to a £16,000 networking event aboard a luxury yacht in Cannes.

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Council chief executive Nick Walkley led a three-strong team to international property event MIPIM hosted on the Clara One yacht in the French Riviera between Tuesday and Thursday this week.

He was joined by the council’s regeneration chief Cllr Alan Strickland and Lyn Garner, director of place and sustainability, for the three-day trip aimed at attracting investment from property developers into Tottenham.

Haringey Liberal Democrats have slammed the trip, which cost £16,000, as an unacceptable use of council resources.

But the council insist only £3,000 of taxpayers’ money was used to fund the trip, with £13,000 raised in sponsorship from developers and businesses.

However, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Wilson has tabled a motion for Haringey’s next full council meeting on March 24, demanding a full investigation into the trip.

He said: “Hard-pressed local residents will be astonished to learn that our Labour-run council has spent £16,000 on a delegation to Cannes to speak to property developers on board a luxury yacht.

“It beggars belief that Labour councillors thought this was an acceptable use of council resources, when so many residents are struggling with high bills, including London’s fifth highest council tax.

“There needs to be an urgent investigation to establish who took part in this trip, and precisely how this money was spent.

“If private companies sponsored the trip, we need to know which companies and if they expect to profit from any property deals made by Haringey in Cannes. What do these companies want in return for their donations?”

Speaking ahead of this week’s event, Haringey Council leader Cllr Claire Kober said: “Thousands of local people have spoken passionately during the last few months about their ambitions for Tottenham’s future and it is right that we secure the right investment to turn those ambitions into reality.

“To achieve local people’s priorities such as more job opportunities, better housing and improved transport links, it is vital we get the right partners on board.

“This event is a unique opportunity to show the world’s leading developers and investors the strong desire and commitment from local people, the council and the government for Tottenham to achieve its potential.”

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