Former CABE chairman hits back at select committee witness angered by disputed Croydon Gateway site

Former CABE chairman Sir Stuart Lipton has angrily dismissed claims made by a Croydon councillor in a parliamentary select committee hearing last week.

The committee, which is investigating the role and effectiveness of CABE, heard evidence from councillor Adrian Dennis alleging that a conflict of interest existed between Lipton’s chairmanship of CABE and of developer Stanhope. He gave as an example the controversial Croydon Gateway development.

Lipton, who stepped down from his CABE role after an audit by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, told Building that these claims were not true.

He said: “Councillor Dennis is making the same allegations that have been dealt with by the audit. What I can tell you is that what was said was not true.”

He added: “The very strange thing about the Croydon Gateway project was that I was only involved in a tiny bit. Most of the meetings were held with [Stanhope chief executive] David Camp.”

Lipton’s solicitor, Linklaters, has written to Clive Betts MP, the chair of the select committee, to ask that Dennis’ “fundamentally inaccurate” representation be dismissed without consideration as “irrelevant to the issues it wishes to consider regarding CABE’s future role”.

What I can tell you is what was said was not true

Sir Stuart Lipton

However, this week Dennis raised the temperature of the debate again by writing his own letter to Betts, in which he questioned the conduct of select committee member Sir Paul Beresford. Dennis said Beresford had distracted the attention of other committee members and the media from his allegations by calling his motives for making the complaint about Lipton into question.

Beresford, a Conservative MP, told the committee that Dennis had a “personal battle” with Lipton and cited a Croydon Labour party news sheet, which Beresford said referred to a “Mr Slime”. Dennis denied that he said that about Lipton or CABE.

Dennis said he wanted to tell the committee that CABE remained “a gentleman’s club of well-connected individuals who will have had commercial dealings with each other and with many people in the development world”.

Lipton dismissed this claim, which was directed at CABE’s design review panel. He said: “Would you rather have a bunch of people who didn’t have any clue what they were talking about?”