City of London and Westminster property tribes (almost) put rivalry aside

Gabriella Griffith
L-R: Daniel Van Gelder, Exemlpar Properties, Philippa Roe, Westminster City Council and Mark Boleat, City of London
The City of London and Westminster’s property giants put their old rivalries aside last night, as they came together in the House of Lords to launch Building Central London’s Future – A Manifesto For Growth. Well, almost...

First to the stage was co-founder of Exemplar Properties and chairman of Westminster Property Association Daniel Van Gelder, but he didn’t quite get the entrance he was hoping for.

Silence descended when he was introduced. “Well I was kind of expecting a round of applause or maybe some whoops,” he said disappointedly, “Well, the quieter you all are the longer I’ll go on for,” he added.

“I’d like to welcome the City to Westminster. It’s much nicer over here,” he said. Mark Boleat, chair of the City of London’s policy and resources committee, raised an eyebrow.

“It’s always good to have a bit of friction between the City and Westminster,” Ian Marris, partner at Knight Frank, said afterwards. “But they do fish from the same pot at the end of the day.”

MP Mark Field, who straddles both tribes as MP for Cities of London and Westminster, remained unmoved by the debate, admitting his mind was on another location – his forthcoming holiday destination, Majorca.

■ So Phil Clarke, Tesco-lifer turned chief exec, is out. Not only is he out, but his big “40 years with the supermarket” party, scheduled for tonight at the V&A, has been put on ice. However, while both the museum and the supermarket were tight-lipped about the details of the doomed soiree, there’s no need to feel too bad for Clarke - this Cinderella will go to the ball, eventually.

A spokesperson for Tesco told The Capitalist that Clarke’s 40th anniversary party will still happen. Anyone who read this page yesterday will also be aware that someone paid £12k for a one-on-one with the chief executive, at a fundraising ball on Friday. Tesco insists that Clarke will honour his offer – we suppose it just comes down to whether or not the unidentified bidder will still want it.

■ Having a company name no-one can remember is a bit of a doozy, especially when you’re a PR firm; getting company names to stick in heads is part of your remit. With that, we wave goodbye to Twelve Thirty Eight PR, a communications company which, despite its difficult name, has counted the likes of Virgin Money and Sainsbury’s as clients. “I managed to come up with the world’s least memorable name,” founder Hamish Thompson told The Capitalist. “I thought, ‘Sod this, I’m changing it.’” Welcome to the stage, Houston PR – and what better way to announce the name than tying a press release to a high altitude balloon and getting the piece of paper to do a space selfie? “It went up for an hour or so, not exactly Virgin Galactic,” Thompson added. As for where the press release landed, far from the grandiose space reference made in the firm’s new name – the balloon came down in Mansfield. Almost as exotic...

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