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Departures fuel disarray fears at Town Hall

Three top-level bosses have left environment and regeneration department in the past month

23 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

THREE of Islington’s top-level bosses have left the Town Hall’s environment and regeneration department in the past month, stoking fears the department is in disarray.

The head of traffic and parking, Nicolina Cooper, has left “with immediate effect”, according to an email leaked to the Tribune written by the Town Hall’s new corporate director of environment and regeneration, Keith Townsend. This was one of several emails staff have received as one boss after another announced they were leaving.

His message added: “I appreciate that several recent departures might be a little unsettling so if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to raise them.”

Mr Townsend is new to his position at the top of the department after he replaced Kevin O’Leary in the role.

Bram Kainth, the council’s “Service Director of Public Realm”, who sat just below Mr O’Leary in the hierarchy, has also handed in his notice.

He has been snapped up by west London borough Hammersmith and Fulham.

One council insider who works in the environ­ment and regeneration department said staff were worried about the reduced workforce.

Cllr Claudia Webbe is the political figurehead of the department. The Tribune has run a series of articles probing the council on allegations about the department.

Whistleblowers have revealed improper procedures may have led to drivers being penalised when they should not have. There has not been a suggestion that this new leader’s departure is linked with these allegations.

A council spokesman said: “The environment is at the heart of our work to make Islington a fairer place, including pioneering initiatives to tackle poor air quality, reduce our carbon footprint, change roads to encourage more people to walk and cycle, continuing our award-winning street-cleaning system, and to protect and promote our vital parks and green spaces. We’re committed to a strong environment and regeneration team at all levels to make Islington a welcoming and attractive borough, and to create a healthy environment for all.”


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