Community groups call for Mayfair forum chief to quit
Concerns raised about influence of Grosvenor estate ahead of crunch AGM
21 April, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya
Garages in Mayfair that are at the centre of the dispute
MAYFAIR residents’ groups are calling for the head of a neighbourhood forum not to put himself forward for re-election because of his links to the Grosvenor estate.
The Mayfair Residents Group, Residents’ Society of Mayfair and St James’s, and the Bourdon Street & Grosvenor Hill Residents Group have written to Will Bax asking him not to stand again for chairman of the Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum.
The forum was set up to give a voice to people on planning decisions. But there are concerns that its plan for Mayfair’s future has become too close to Grosvenor’s 20-year vision for the area.
Mr Bax is the executive director of the Grosvenor London estate. In an unusual show of unity, residents’ groups signed a joint letter saying it was “no longer appropriate” for him to stand for re-election at the forum’s annual general meeting next week and that he should “withdraw as a candidate… in order to safeguard the integrity and good standing of the forum”.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on Mr Bax’s part but that his position as a director at Grosvenor could compromise his role.
Ron Whelan, chairman of the Mayfair Residents Group, said: “It was clear in the meeting that there was a deep resentment against the policies of the Grosvenor Estate to expand retail shopping throughout Mayfair, and an equally deep resentment against the current structure of the Mayfair forum, which residents see as being controlled by business interests, notably Grosvenor, and against the interests of local residents.”
A public meeting was held at Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, on April 11, where concerns were raised about plans to open retail outlets and maximise shopper footfall in Mayfair.
Grosvenor said it would not comment on the residents’ groups views and Mr Bax has not responded to emails from the West End Extra.