Last night the councilâ€™s Property Strategy was due to be discussed at the councilâ€™s cabinet meeting. This title is code for selling council assets like day care centres to build three new offices for council staff in Acton, Greenford and Southall. In the event this element of the report was withdrawn without discussion:
To seek delegated authority to acquire 42 Lower Boston Road, Hanwell W7 2ND
It did seem to be out of place. It is a land acquisition to support the expansion of the adjacent St Markâ€™s primary school in Hanwell. Sure it is a property transaction but unrelated to the rest of the property strategy.
It is a matter of public record (go to Land Registry and pay Â£3) that this land is yet another part of Ealingâ€™s GLA member, Onkar Sahotaâ€™s, extensive property empire, more here.
After council leader Julian Bell and Sahotaâ€™s dealing over his planning permission for Castlebar Road you might think that council would either be steering well clear of any transaction with Sahota or doing it in a totally transparent way.
It may well be that Onkar Sahota owns some land that St Markâ€™s needs. Given the history, the transaction cannot be waved through hidden on gold papers in an obscure corner of a cabinet report.