|"No Evidence" to Support Complaint against Ex-Council Leader|
But residents accuse council of "determined" cover-up
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has announced that it will not be investigating an allegation made against the former Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council, Stephen Greenhalgh.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council says allegations were made by one individual in September 2012 that the council had drawn up a so-called 'early movers' or 'VIP' list containing the names of residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates who had been promised new council homes if they signed their support for the Earls Court regeneration scheme.
In February, an independent investigation by Deloittes found no evidence against the council to support the claims.
In their report to the council, Deloittes stated: "We have not identified any evidence to support the allegation of the existence on an Early Movers List, VIP List or priority listing by any other name."
The IPCC carried out an assessment of the complaint but has now said that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr Greenhalgh may have committed a criminal offence.
Stephen Greenhalgh stood down as Leader of H&F Council in May 2012 to become the Deputy Mayor of London for Police and Crime.
He has called the claims against him "baseless" and added: "I am immensely proud of my record as Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader. These baseless allegations are politically motivated. I refuse to be distracted from my important role as deputy mayor for policing and crime."
Current Leader of H&F Council, Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “"Stephen Greenhalgh was both an inspirational and transformational council leader and the residents of Hammersmith & Fulham have much to thank him for. The IPCC has concluded that the allegations against him, which were wholly politically motivated, had absolutely no merit or substance whatsoever.
"No homes have been built, let alone been allocated, and nobody has received preferential treatment. As is normal on a regeneration scheme of this size, the council talked to all affected residents about their housing needs and requirements during a two-year consultation. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone was promised anything in return for supporting the regeneration scheme.
"The reality is that if residents are eventually moved it will happen in accordance with a local lettings plan, which will be agreed by a public committee in the normal way, that will take into account the needs and preferences of all residents.
"We can now get on with the important work of ensuring that estate residents, together with those living in the wider area are the major beneficiaries of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to comprehensively regenerate this part of London."
Residents on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates, however, accused the council of a "determined" cover-up. Jonathan Rosenberg, spokesman for the residents fighting to save the estates from redevelopment said: " Everyone knows what happened here, there are a lot of tenants who say the council offered them preferential treatment.
" Neither the police nor the IPPC have interviewed these tenants, I find that strange to say the least. These are organisations who should be dealing with evidence.
“It is common knowledge on the estates that preferential treatment was offered to some tenants in return for supporting demolition."