by adelemorris on 8 February, 2015
As a result of national coverage of Southwark planning committee’s decision to allow Berkley Homes not to give the social housing tenants keys to all areas of their new development, a Southwark Council spokeswoman has said that they will “take another look at the decision”. And do what exactly?
The decision was taken by the planning committee, under the advice of officers, and is legally binding. The Council does not have the authority to change the decision. The planning committee was presented with the proposals by the officer and the applicant, and we were assured (upon questioning from myself) that the granting of the original planning permission had not depended on this access, and that residents would still have the use of more than the required outdoor space per flat – including their own private roof garden. In planning terms, we therefore had no reason to refuse the request.
This reaction to the press story is shameful, and the comment now calls into question the validity of the decisions of the planning committee. Which, incidentally, has a Labour chair and a Labour majority. So where does that leave the council’s credibility on planning?
Does the Council’s comment confirm the long held belief of local residents that the planning committee are just puppets in the hands of the Labour Administration?
PS. Just to be absolutely clear, my issue is with the suggestion that the planning decision can somehow be changed. As a member of the committee, I felt extremely uncomfortable about what was being asked of us (hence my comments at the meeting) but was advised that in planning terms we could not refuse the application. I am happy for Southwark Council to try and privately negotiate a better outcome with City of London and Berkley Homes if they so wish, however they may have had more bargaining power if they had done that before the planning committee meeting………1 Comment