Westminster Council’s housing hell-hole

Westminsterhousing

It’s a little known fact that Westminster Council’s housing department is in deep doo-doo.

With tales of corporate property fraud, shady contracts with criminals and the spectre of wrinkly rogue Shirley Porter’s ruthless hatred for the homeless looming large, it’s all happening down WC way.

The housing department also underwent a dramatic reshuffle last year which saw long-standing Head of Housing, Rosemary Westbrook (who moved to Camden), replaced by Ben Denton.

We were amused to read this love-letter from Benny’s former colleague in the private sector, who candidly talks about the mess WC housing is in.

According to Jackie Sadek:

” Much water has flowed under the bridge since the Shirley Porter days but the legacy of it is still keenly felt, no matter what their communications officers will tell you.

She also spills the beans about the bizarre rituals of the Westminster Property Association, of which ghastly Jonathan Glanz is a member:

” The authority may now be pretty slick and pukka in its operations but it still has its idiosyncrasies (much celebrated by the Westminster Property Association of course); the lunches on the 18th Floor of City Hall are legendary, as is the slightly eccentric behaviour of certain of the members”

According to Jackie, new boy Benny is simply perfect for the role as he’s such  ” a consummate strategist, an accomplished technical operator, a diplomat, and a champion of what is right for communities”.

Good grief. What a hero.

We do hope you’re up to the Big Job ahead of you Benny.

(Here’s the love-letter in full):

” But I guess ‘the daddy’ of such signal appointments in recent times has to be that of Ben Denton, who has just left First Base to join Westminster City Council as Strategic Director of Housing, Regeneration and Worklessness. He has just started his second week and I’m wondering whether he is suffering from culture shock. I missed his leaving party (very sadly, I am slipping!) but I understand he was most bullish and upbeat, describing the move “as a great opportunity for me to drive forward housing policy and housing regeneration for the council”.

Ben has a Big Job there. The role was advertised (and widely canvassed by the headhunter) after several rather frazzled recent months in the Westminster team: a reshuffle of the senior management was designed to save £2m and had led to some high level redundancies. Planning posts had been cut (amid the national warnings that a delay to the government’s decision on application fees was putting planners at risk) and another member of Westminster’s property team, had been suspended, and was under investigation by the council. So not a happy ship altogether, but I would be supremely confident of Ben piloting it to calmer waters.

Alongside an appraisal of Ben’s skills (as a consummate strategist, an accomplished technical operator, a diplomat, and a champion of what is right for communities) is the fraught history of the City of Westminster. Much water has flowed under the bridge since the Shirley Porter days but the legacy of it is still keenly felt, no matter what their communications officers will tell you.

The authority may now be pretty slick and pukka in its operations but it still has its idiosyncrasies (much celebrated by the Westminster Property Association of course); the lunches on the 18th Floor of City Hall are legendary, as is the slightly eccentric behaviour of certain of the members.

But the real story is that of the relationship with those pockets of local communities that do not live in the stucco fronted splendour of Belgravia or the Hyde Park Estate. There is now the chance of a real rapprochement with those Westminster communities, a real chance to heal. And Ben is, without doubt, the man for the job.

A luminous appointment.”

http://www.estatesgazette.com/blogs/jackie-sadek/2011/09/a-luminous-move-from-the-public-to-the-private.html

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/westminster-council-and-the-fraudster/

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/westminster-councils-hatred-for-the-homeless/

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/affraudable-housing/

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/a-westminster-christmas-carol/

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/despicable-g/

http://westminsterpropertyassociation.com/about_us1.htm

http://www.saferwestend.com/about.htm

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