Council’s development company Homes for Lambeth says it will end its relationship with of lobbyists following pressure from Green councillors
Lambeth Council has said that it’s development arm Homes for Lambeth will be “concluding” its commission of Thorncliffe Communications, with a different company taking on its consultation work.
It comes after pressure from Green Party councillors to drop Thorncliffe after it was embroiled in the scandal involving Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and the concerns expressed by residents over its methods.
Having commissioned the professional lobbyists to carry out “community engagement”, Homes for Lambeth has accelerated its controversial scheme of estate demolition, leaving those affected by the council’s plans for their homes in the dark.
The community consultation arm of Thorncliffe - “Your Shout” - measured consultation success during lockdown against the number of IP addresses logging on to their presentations. No two-way interaction with the public was possible. As a result, occupants of Central Hill, Cressingham Gardens, Hydethorpe Road and Angell Town, to name a few, have been unable to successfully voice their concerns.
In an attempt to raise the alarm, Green Group Councillors submitted an emergency motion to full council in July. (1) It called on council to sever ties with Thorncliffe Communications and ensure new and independent consultations for residents on all regeneration estates. The motion was rejected.
Despite Thorncliffe describing themselves as “political and community consultation experts” (2), the firm has been responsible for several devastating planning approvals across London, also exposed for involvement in the scandal with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, who faced calls to resign earlier this year.
Green Party councillor Jonathan Bartley said: “This is a victory for residents but a reevaluation of the council’s ties to this professional lobbyist should have taken place months ago.”
“Continued use of a company with such as this also poses serious reputational risks to the council; not only is it contrary to the council’s responsible procurement policy, but also to its professed ethos and values.”