Private Eye picks up on Brixton Buzz story about Helen Hayes MP and possible Brixton Arches conflict of interest

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Private Eye has picked up on the Brixton Buzz story that we published last month concerning the professional business practises of Helen Hayes, the new Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.

Much of Helen’s constituency covers our Brixton patch, including Brixton Station Road and Atlantic Road where local traders are being threatened with eviction by Network Rail.

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During the General Election campaign, Helen was keen to be photographed with the local traders offering her support. Which seemed a little strange, since her own private consultancy recommended to Lambeth Council that the arches be “improved” back in 2013.

It is good to see that Private Eye has picked up on the Brixton Buzz piece pointing out the possible clash of interest in Helen’s new role as a public representative, compared to her past professional work in gentrifying parts of her new constituency with her firm Allies and Morrison.

We are pleased that Private Eye also thinks that this is a potential clash worth drawing attention to, especially so since when we spoke to Helen last month, she was VERY keen to tell us that there is no story here and we really shouldn’t be wasting our time in publishing it.

But like us, Private Eye disagrees.

The current issue adds:

“This curious contrast between word and deed is nowhere more stark than in neighbouring Lambeth, in which most of Hayes’s new seat lies.

In February she rallied against plans by Network Rail to evict shop owners from the Brixton Arches, home to a thriving market and dozens of small businesses. Network Rail have behaved “in the worst possible way”, Hayes opined.

It was surely, then, a different Helen Hayes whose firm drew up the planning framework for Lambeth Council that recommended the Brixton Arches be improved.”

Once again – Brixton Buzz would love to be able to offer up more information about what happened once Lambeth Council agreed the plans that was prepared by the company in which Helen Hayes is a partner.

We have put in a Freedom of Information request to Network Rail asking to see this correspondence.

This has been turned down by Network Rail. We are appealing against this decision.

Private Eye adds:

“With expert knowledge of property and planning in London and yet such a keen eye for conflicts of interest, Ms Hayes is surely one to watch.”

Which is something we will definitely be doing very closely when it comes to the new MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.

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