Wednesday 10 July 2024

Director of a Vistry Group subsidiary is associated with social media attacks on Shama Tatler during the Chingford & Woodford Green election battle

 There was considerable controversy when Brent Cabinet Lead Member for Planning and Regeneration, Shama Tatler, was parachuted into the Chingford and  Woodford Green  General Election battle  after the Labour Party's ditching of popular and very local candidate Faiza Hassan.

The move led to resignations from the local Labour Party. Faiza Shaheen stood as an independent and the marginal seat was held by Conservative Ian Duncan Smith with a reduced majority.

It was not just disgruntled Labour members who campaigned against Shama Tatler. The Guardian's political media editor  Jim Waterson, drew attention on Twitter LINK to an attack campaign run by a local Tory councillor, John Moss, and Conservative  cyber campaigner Thomas James Robert Borwick.


The Facebook attack ads were posted by  3rd Party Ltd of which Thomas Borwick is a director. The Waltham Forest Echo carries some background on the company. LINK

 So far this may be what you would expect from a Conservative  intervention, just staying on the right side of electoral law by not openly campaigning for a specific candidate. It could be argued that it might even help Faiza Shaheen's campaign.

But there is more to it and motivations get rather murky.

Thomas Borwick has multiple director interests SEE LINK that include a directorship along with his father, Lord Geoffrey Robert James Borwick, of Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd.


Countryside Properties (Bicester) Limited is a joint venture company in which Countryside Properties (UK) Limited has an interest. Countryside Properties (UK) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vistry Group PLC. There is another 'Countryside' entity - Countryside Partnerships.

The Vistry website tell us:

Countryside Partnerships is Vistry Group’s business to business (B2B) brand. This is the partner-facing brand used when delivering mixed-tenure developments. This covers all types of homes from social rent to private sales on the open market – and everything in between, often all on the same site.

 In April 2021 Countryside received approval for all four phases of the Peel project in Brent LINK.

In May 2023 a press release from Countryside Homes announced that Brent Council has selected Countryside Partnerships as preferred bidder to build 200 homes in South Kilburn. It included a quote from Shama Tatler:

Cllr Shama Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Growth at Brent Council, said:

"We’re now almost halfway through our 15-year regeneration programme for South Kilburn and can’t wait to get started on the next phase with Countryside Partnerships. Right across the country local authorities are grappling with spiralling inflation and building costs, but despite the challenges, we are really delighted to be able to deliver this brilliant scheme for residents. This project will create more than 200 much-needed new homes, almost half of which will be for existing South Kilburn residents. Not only will local families be given the keys to safe and secure homes, they will also enjoy a healthier environment, with more greenery and trees on their doorstep and a revamped local park.”

 Another press release in March 2024, this time from Vistry itself proclaimed construction starting at the South Kilburn site:

 In the north of Brent, Countryside, has signed up with the Sovereign Network Group (formerly Network Homes) to build 654 homes and commercial premises in Northwick Park. The full transformation of Northwick Park is being delivered through a partnership between Network Homes, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, Brent Council and the University of Westminster.

It is a scheme with not a few of the tower blocks featured in the Facebook campaign against Shama Tatler.


 By now you are probably as puzled as I am.

Why did Thomas Borwick, a director within Vistry Group's several companies, launch a campaign against Shama 'Towerblock' Tatler who leads regeneration in Brent, on the basis of her support for highrise, when one of the companies is the preferred bidder for lucrative contracts in the borough for middle and highrise developments?









Anonymous said...

In your report you have used the quote by Cllr. Tatler who said---we are almost halfway through the 15 year South Kilburn Regeneration programme but in actual fact we have already reached 20 years since the regeneration began on the 10th July 2004. Some observers believe that the regeneration started even earlier in 2001 when the council made a bid to the Labour Government for funding from the NDC programme.

Can you ask Cllr. Tatler why she continues to ignore the first 13 years of the SK programme, when the site where Thames Court now stands, was cleared with the demolishing of several garages and a basketball court in late 2004.

Anonymous said...

This is so strange. Maybe the Borthwicks wanted Towerblock to stay in Brent so they could get yet more deals to build.

David Walton said...

Yes, the South Kilburn regeneration is in its year 23....

Started 2001 under a Labour national administration as New Deal for Communities, then 2010 a Growth Area under the Tories, 2019 a Tall Building Zone under the Tories.

Lets see what a Labour government in 2024 wants from Brent Labour as regards social health and wellbeing inside these new intensive housing population density zones UK unseen.

Population more than doubled since 2001 on this 45 hectares 'estate', its 2 ha 70 years old (under threat ever since 2010) community park is shared with Maida Hill (the UK's most overcrowded neighbourhood)/ all primary health care facilities removed from TBZ already during the past 23 years of population growth.