Labour is calling for new rules to stop councillors accepting hospitality from property developers and lobbyists.

Councillor Stephen Cowan, who leads the opposition Labour group at Hammersmith and Fulham Council , said the senior Tory councillors have been wined and dined by many of the borough’s most active property developers.

He said it was ‘deeply concerning’ that no notes, minutes or records are kept of these informal conversations.

H&F Labour’s head of audit, Councillor PJ Murphy, said: “In recent years, Conservative councillors have been wined, dined and taken out to fancy events by the property developers behind some of the borough’s most controversial schemes. These include the Riverside Studios scheme, Shepherd’s Bush Market scheme, Hammersmith Grove office scheme and St George’s Fulham Reach.

“There’s many more and all share similar characteristics. In each case obligations to build affordable housing were dropped, planning guidelines were sidestepped, and residents that tried to engage the council all came away believing the planning process was a sham and each development was a done deal.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative leader Nicholas Botterill
 

In the last year, Tory leader - and leader of the council - Nick Botterill has had a £25 dinner paid by Galliford Try/Linden Homes, breakfast with Alistair Baird, regional managing director of Barratt Homes, and was invited to a charity dinner as guest of St George also attended by Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing. All these developers have been granted planning permission for housing projects throughout the borough.

Conservative chief whip, Councillor Mark Loveday, said these allegations were ‘scurrilous’ and a ‘smear campaign’ from Labour, adding that some of the gifts included a plastic JCB excavator toy.

He said: “We have not had a single complaint made by anybody about these allegations. They are scurrilous, full of innuendos and smears by the opposition. The suggestion that these kind of things would influence a planning decision is ludicrous.

"In fact we know that Councillor Cowan has had meetings with developers which are not minuted or disclosed. Labour knows that every council in the country has a stream of people coming in who want to know if they can carry out projects throughout the borough and that’s absolutely standard.”

The Tories blocked a motion by Labour that all meetings with developers must be minuted at the full council meeting earlier this month.

The Council said all interests and gifts must be formally registered by all councillors.