CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A clear separation between planning and development would help to build transparency

28 September, 2017

• NEWS that Cllr Phil Jones has taking a job with Turley Associates, planning consultants on the Central Somers Town CIP, underlines the deep problems caused to the community by the council’s planning and development arms reporting to the same cabinet member.

Cllr Jones was unwavering in his support for the Somers Town CIP scheme. He even sat with the developers at planning committee.

There was no one listening to residents’ objectively justified concerns about dangerous air quality impacts, loss of trees, green space and designated open space, as well as breaches of density guidelines.

Who in cabinet took seriously the plea from a resident who is going to have a block of flats built 12 metres from the rear façade of her home (when Camden policy states 18 metres is the minimum)? Who listened to those residents who are going to lose so much natural light in their homes?

Who in the council stood up for our built heritage and listened to the views of every local and national heritage organisation on the terrible damage this scheme would do? And who, in council, took the emerging local neighbourhood plan seriously? Drawn up by volunteers, to a very high standard, it’s been entirely ignored.

Last week, the new council leader Georgia Gould rejigged the cabinet. This would have been an ideal opportunity to separate the council’s functions as developer and planning authority. Instead Cllr Danny Beales is to head up a portfolio called “Investing in Communities” that embraces both the Community Investment Programme and planning.

We ask that Cllr Gould reconsider this decision. A clear separation between planning and development would help to build transparency into in a system that has lost all credibility locally.

SLANEY DEVLIN
Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum

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