Tuesday 21 March 2017

Butt to speak at Wembley Stadium Planning Meeting

I understand that Cllr Butt, leader of Brent Council, has requested to speak on the Wembley Stadium planning application at Thursday's Planning Committee.

Although he is likely to claim that he is speaking in his capacity as a ward councillor for Tokyngton, the ward in which the stadium is situated, he is also leader of the Council.  The Planning Committee is supposed to be statutorily independent of the Council and cannot be whipped or directed to vote in a particular way.

However, when the Leader of the Council and the Labour Group makes his views known on a very controversial issue that has pitched Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur and Brent Council against residents and local businesses the question must arise as to whether this constitutes the potential exerting of undue influence on Committee members - especially Labour ones.

I await the response to a query I sent on this to the Brent CEO with interest.

Apparently there are many requests to speaks from residents and local businesses and a list is currently being drawn up. It is usual to give precedence to those who live nearest or who represent a group of residents such as a residents' association.

We will be very interested in who is allowed to speak and who is excluded...


Unknown said...

Interesting. When I spoke to him about the Queensbury Pub campaign back in 2012 he swore that there was no way a council leader could or would express an opinion on a planning application, even in his own ward.

Philip Grant said...

I can see no reason why a councillor from Tokyngton Ward should not be allowed to make a brief presentation to Planning Committee on this matter, setting out the views expressed to the councillor by residents of that ward.

However, the councillor making that presentation should NOT be the Leader of the Council (who has other responsibilities besides those to his constituents).

There are two other councillors representing Tokyngton, so one of the others (either Orleen Hylton or Ketan Sheth) should make that presentation. That is the way the Council's own rules deal with the situation when a planning application affects the ward of a member of Planning Committee, and residents of that ward wish a councillor to speak on their behalf to the committee.