What can you buy for £150 000?
What you won’t be able to buy is any of the 1500 houses at Kempton Park. But £150 000 is quite a useful sum of money elsewhere.
Have a look at KKG Document 38, attached. It is an email sent in May last year from Spelthorne’s then Head of Planning to some of her colleagues, including the Head of Corporate Governance, Michael Graham. Note the second last paragraph on the first page.
“I will probably need to do a PID as well, if only to flag up work which will be involved!! (I have asked the Jockey Club for £150,000 to help us with resource if they progress further down the line – which they have said yes to in principle).”
To put that in context, the basic salary range for the Head of Planning is £50 993 to £66 928. The range for the Head of Corporate Governance is £58 861 to £66 928, and that for the Chief Executive is £98 511 to 111 069.
That £150 000 can fund quite a lot of salaried time.
And it creates, at the very least, a blatant conflict of interest.
Did the Head of Corporate Governance (whose job it is to notice such things) object to this £150 000 arrangement? If he did, his correspondence saying so is not amongst the FOI papers. But we’ll be writing to him to find out.
After all, a year earlier he objected to The Jockey Club’s offer to provide “drinks and racing” to Councillors after their meeting at Kempton Park on 21 March 2012. (KKG Document 41). If ‘drinks and racing’ can be viewed as potentially trying to “influence any future decision”, then what about £150 000?
We are sure that the Stewards of The Jockey Club are all very generous and charitable people. But they surely wouldn’t be handing over £150 000 without expecting something in return.
Also attached is the article on the front page of today’s Surrey Herald (KKG Document 40). In it, the current Head of Planning is quoted as saying:
“…However, just because we give advice, this does not mean we necessarily support a scheme…. “
But take a look at KKG Document 39, an email exchange between his predecessor as Head of Planning and the Chief Executive in January last year.
“As I mentioned if this kicks off then it will be a flagship and will need a lot of time and resources to deliver a permission in 18 months time.”
Deliver a permission? That looks pretty much like supporting a scheme to us – something which a number of Council representatives have been denying, in terms, for months.
And before we forget. The prize for Understatement of the Year 2013 goes to the phrase in KKG Document 38, end of the second paragraph.
“Suffice to say that they’re not looking at a small area of infill.”
Well done for that.
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There is more to come, in due course, over coming weeks.
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