Tuesday 5 July 2016

Duffy calls for transparency on Peel Precinct development

Cllr John Duffy (Labour Kilburn) wrote the following letter to Cllr Sarah Marquis (Chair of the Planning Committee) ahead of this evening's meeting:
I would like to raise my concerns at the Peel Precinct development. I am concerned that the development has failed to balance the needs of the local community both in affordability,accommodation and also community facilities.Together with a failure to achieve guarantees from the private sector on a shared profits scheme.

I have further concerns about the future of the Local British Legion Club and the height (16 stories) of some of the development.Where as I have no particular concerns about the height, I do believe the height will be be used to attract private developers for property speculation/profit and not to enhance the area. I also believe the break down of only 42 (18%) units will not bring social cohesion in this part of the development.

My concerns are also about the role of the Lead Member for Regeneration,who had arranged one to one meeting with the Labour Members of the planning committee.I find this completely inappropriate to mix planning issues with party politics and would request that the COP ensures these meetings no -longer take place,and all meeting concerning planning in South Kilburn include at least one elected councillor from Kilburn and are transparent.

My concerns about the redevelopment does not reflect on officers,but are born out of an attempt to ensure that previously Kilburn Councillors (me) were stop from making legitimate enquires by a member of the cabinet (see below) about matters that rightly concerned them.

I therefore I ask the COP to ensure no such similar interventions by members of the cabinet are allowed.That any meetings with Labour members of the planning committee concerning SK planning issues are fully transparent and if a local council raise legitimate questions,they expect no interventions from any cabinet member and the questions will be dealt with in a transparent way.

This is not a formal objection to the outline planning, as there is much to recommend it and I am sure with some hard work, hard negotiations and hard questions  we can ensure the development will enhance and regenerate the area.This however is a plea to ensure that this planning application is transparent and that Local Kilburn Councillors are allowed full access (including costings) to all information regarding the application.
Email December 2014 in response to request for information from Cllr Duffy:
Andy/Richard (Andy Donald/Richard Barrett)

Do we have a legal duty to disclose this information.  If not, I am happy to inform that it is not appropriate.  John is still smarting about not being allowed to speak at the Gloucester/Durham proposal, but I cannot recall seeing him there at Planning! Anyway, dealing with this politically.  Looks like the email below was drafted by another, smile.

Warm Regards


Cllr Margaret McLennan
Lead Member for Regeneration and Housing
and Northwick Park Ward, Brent


Alison Hopkins said...

This lends even more credence to the belief that Planning members are having political pressure put on them by the Leader and Executive. That's an appalling email from McLennan.

I strongly suspect this is exactly what has happened with other planning applications including a BHP one in Dollis Hill. The Standards committee won't act. This mess needs referring to outside monitors.

Philip Grant said...

It appears that members of the Planning Committee, and of the Cabinet, need reminding about Brent's Planning Code of Practice (part of Brent Council's Constitution, adopted by Full Council, which sets out the rules by which the Council should operate).

Paragraph 1 of this Code is very clear about the basis on which planning decisions must be made:

'1. Members of the Planning Committee shall determine applications in accordance with the Unitary Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
The Brent Members’ Code of Conduct and the law relating to Brent Council members' disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests must be complied with throughout the decision making process. Decisions should not be influenced by the interests of Councillors or because of pressure exerted by applicants, agents or third parties. Members of the Planning Committee must take decisions in the public interest and take account
only of material planning considerations. They should not allow themselves to be influenced by members of the public and applicants, agents or third parties who might approach them and they should not be influenced by party politics.'

How can Brent's planning decisions have any credibility, or validity, if they are not made in accordance with this Code?