Cllr Sarah Marquis (Labour, Barnhill) announced at the last meeting of the current Planning Committee tonight that she will not be standing as Chair again. The new chair is due to be elected at the Labour Group's Annual General Meeting shortly after the May 3rd election.
I understand that Cllr Marquis wishes to return to her legal career. She was always judicious in her role and mindful of the Committee's independence. For a considerable period the Committee was chaired by Councillor Amer Aghar while Marquis was on maternity leave.
The position is a bed of nails at a time when the Committee has to consider many controversial proposals, particularly those in the Quintain regeneration area. Multi-million developments have been approved by a single vote on occasions when many of the Committee have abstained.
In the background there have also been the controversies reported on this blog over the Council leader's relationship with Quintain and the issue of unminuted meetings with developers that resulted in changes to Councillor Guidelines on planning issues.
I wish her well she will be sadly missed. Lets hope that Amer Aghar is not elected as he know's nothing about planning law and has total disrespect for anyone voicing objections, and his comments and instructions are often unintelligible although he's speaking English! Cllr Keith Perrin or Cllr Duffy given would be a good choice.
That's a real shame. I've spoken at Planning committees chaired by both Sarah Marquis and Aghar. Marquis was forensic, objective and unbiased, and actually recommended bouncing the application. I can't say the same for Aghar. Duffy would be an independent, of course.
I am sad to hear this. She has been an excellent chair of planning asking searching questions with relevance to the applications. This contrasted vastly with her deputy Agha who I have consistently felt was never independent or worthy of the position.
Sounds like Aghar has the perfect qualifications to be a Brent Council Chair of Planning then... well according to the logic of Brent Labour
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