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HDV | Terrapin PR and the Labour Lady who Lunches. And the Lads … and how!

AMONG other questions, in January Jane Jones asked the Council via What do they Know:

Between 1st January 2016 to Friday 20th January 2017 please provide:

  • Dates and location Cllr Claire Kober met with Peter Bingle or anyone from Terrapin Communications
  • Dates and location Cllr Alan Strickland met with Peter Bingle or anyone from Terrapin Communications
  • Dates and location Cllr Jason Arthur met with Peter Bingle or anyone from Terrapin Communications

A list of meetings with the relevant individuals has been included in the table below.

Date / Attendees / Location

2016 March 15

Cllr. Strickland (Noel Park Ward) — with Peter Bingle

Grand Hotel, 45 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France

2016 April 15

Cllr Kober (Seven Sisters Ward) — with Peter Bingle

The George Club, 87-88 Mount Street, London W1K 2SR 

2016 April 25

Cllr Arthur (Crouch End Ward) — with Christian Klapp

8 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 3NF 

2016 June 9

Cllr Kober (Seven Sisters Ward) — with Peter Bingle

Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX

2016 July 25

Cllr Arthur (Crouch End Ward) — with Peter Bingle

The Groucho Club, 45 Dean Street, London W1D 4QB 

2016 September 22

Cllr Kober (Seven Sisters Ward) — with Peter Bingle

Clarke's Restaurant, 124 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4BH 

2016 September 25

Cllr Kober (Seven Sisters Ward) — with Peter Bingle

Pullman Hotel lobby, Kings Dock, Monarchs Quay, Liverpool L3 4FP



According to their home page, Terrapin Communications Ltd. is the leading public affairs agency advising on property.

Their staff:


Tags: 8 Mount Street, Mayfair, Clarke's Restaurant, Cllr Arthur, Cllr Jogee, Cllr Kober, Cllr Strickland, Grand Hotel, HDV, Haringey Development Vehicle, Junket, More…PR, Peter Bingle, Pullman Hotel lobby, Royal Festival Hall,, Terrapin, Terrapin Communications Ltd., The George Club, The Groucho Club, compromise, conflict of interest, declarations, grey area, influence, lobbying, lobbyist, public relations, representatives

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When I was first elected to Haringey Council in 1998 one of the first things I was told was that councillors should not agree to meet planning applicants and property developers without council officers present. The basic advice I got from experienced councillors - especially from former Cllr Ray Dodds - was avoid meeting with planning applicants and property developers.

That advice was either unheard or unwisely ignored by various councillors.

I appreciate that all those sensible old rules probably look very silly to the new generation of councillors happy to enjoy the perks of privatisation. People see gissajob former government and senior ex-civil servants joining company boards. So maybe local councillors viewing this big-time freeloading think 'what's-the-harm' in a spot of free-lunching? Or brush aside any thought of objecting to French Riviera  yachts; free flights, freebie hotels and loose friendly talk over the Cannes canapés.Or gifts of free tickets to boxes at football matches. 

Personally, I wouldn't give any of these freeloaders the steam from my piss, let alone my vote. But maybe that attitude is oh-so-very-old-fashioned. And maybe - just like the Parliamentary Expenses scandal - any public disgust will soon evaporate, and any determination to change soon be forgotten.

Alan Stanton
Haringey Labour councillor 1998-2014
Former ward branch secretary and former Tottenham Constituency Secretary.

P.S. As far as I know the late George Meehan followed the same practice of keeping 'arms length' in dealings with developers and contractors when he was council Leader and Deputy Leader of Haringey.

My thanks to Clive Carter for reminding me of George Meehan's evidence to the Walklate Inquiry (about Alexandra Palace). George told the Inquiry:
"As Leader of the Council I made it a practice not to discuss such issues with companies unless officers of the Council were present and meetings noted."  (Quotation from the Second Walklate Report.)

The particular "issues" George Meehan was referring to involved commercial contracts and a license of Alexandra Palace. However, to my mind the principles and practice of keeping 'at arm's length' are the same.

I have no idea when this practice changed; and when lunches, drinks on a yacht etc commenced. Nor whether or not senior officers gave advice about the alteration. But plainly it was a foolish change which does nothing to retain or build trust in elected councillors.

THE late George Meehan's arm's length maxim looks wise to me.


Of course, the list of slap-up lunches I reproduced above, were not lunches with a Principal (although it is not clear that no possible principals were present, i.e. employees of property companies).

How George Meehan's sensible advise applies in this situation is not clear. And that's the problem: it's a grey area.

The greyness of the area makes one wonder about the status of these lunch/meetings. Were our elected representatives lunching with an agent, a representative, an adviser or merely an agreeable fellow of like-minded politics?

In a strict legal sense, the lunches were probably not a meeting with an agent of principals. Terrapin Communications Ltd. does disclose it advises clients who are  a number of property companies.

But when does a client become a Principal?

Probably safer all around to follow George Meehan's advice fairly strictly, so there's no doubt everything's above board.

Clive, the list of their clients supplied by Terrapin Communications contains two of the three companies shortlisted by Haringey Council for the famous (some people might say infamous) "Development Vehicle".

Lend Lease, on Terrapin's list of clients, is Haringey's "preferred bidder".

Starwood Capital was one of the group of companies chosen as Haringey's "reserve bidder". They were the only other bidders to score above the minimum required in the assessment.

Morgan Sindall the third shortlisted bidders - unless they are there under a different name - do not appear on the Terrapin client list you posted.

THE late George Meehan was interviewed in connection with the Walklate 2 investigation into the extraordinary Licence to Firoka (Alexandra Palace) Ltd. that was caused by Cllr. Adje (Report attached, p.9).

Here is what the long-time, experienced Haringey Council Leader said to investigator Martin Walklate, about relations between Councillors and company representatives:



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