Thursday 13 March 2014

Has email planning fraud probe been downgraded?

Guest blog by Meg Howarth
It seems that the investigation in to the fake online email support around Andrew Gillick’s original planning application for Kensal Rise Library is now in the hands of Brent police. To date, it had been understood that the Kensington and Chelsea force - the developer’s office is sited in the borough - was dealing with the matter after it was passed evidence and information about the misuse of addresses by the City Police National Fraud and Investigation Bureau (NFIB) - Wembley Matters, 27 February.

Today, however, west London journalist Hannah Bewley is reporting that the local force is now in charge of the inquiry in to whether the allegation of fraud can be substantiated. This is allegedly because Brent Council is technically the ‘victim’ in this sordid affair - it was to the council planning department that the emails were sent. 

As the council spokesman quoted in the Local Government Chronicle on 6 November 2013 stated: ‘It is clear that a number of the emails came from bogus email addresses but, unfortunately, it is not so clear that this necessarily constitutes a criminal offence’ LINK

Evidence of misuse of addresses was first brought to the council’s attention in September of last year, and today’s update suggests a police decision is likely to take some time yet: ‘Due to the complex nature of the evidence, the [Brent police] review may take a while for a decision to be arrived at’. It is six months since the matter was reported to the council, How much longer must local residents wait? 

To some local residents the handing over of the inquiry to Brent police appears like a downgrading of the affair. If Brent Council is the victim, why was the matter ever sent over to the Kensington and Chelsea force? Was this incompetence by the NFIB or a misunderstanding?

Meantime, Andrew Gillick submitted a revised change-of-use planning application for the Kensal Rise Library site on 7 March...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Come on Councillors

Do not sit around hoping this matter might magically disappear start acting like elected representatives of the people and order the local constabulary to fully investigate.

Anything less and you have let down the people of Brent.