Thursday, 24 January 2019

How on earth did this monster get planning permission? Wembley's new 'Twin Towers'

With the closure of Park Lane causing traffic jams and bus diversions around Wembley High while utilities are connected to the 'Twin Towers' on the Chesterfield House site, residents are asking new questions about how such a huge building was given planning permission.

The 15 storeys that can be seen in the video are not the finished building - there are 11 more storeys to go on the highest of the two towers. This is just 3 short storeys short of the controversial West Hendon building that can be seen from all over the area and dominates the Barnet end of the Welsh Harp.

The building was given permission by 4 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions on the Brent Planning Committee of the time. The then Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Sarah Marquis, voted against the scheme.

People are asking, 'How can just four people make such a big decision?' The Committee of course operates on just a simple majority basis so this legally was sufficient. However if the abstentions had voted against the scheme it might have been turned down on the Chair's casting vote.

Councillors of course are not the only people involved and the recommendation of planning officers is crucial.  This is what they had to say.

The original drawing - since permission was granted new applications have been made for building behind the Twin Towers alongside the railway line

There were hundreds of objections to the development from local residents and the controversy rumbled on Council leader Muhammed Butt's  'dinners with developers' . The then Labour councillor for Kilburn, John Duffy;  Conservative leader John Warren, and Philip Grant all took up the issue fearing too cosy a relationship between the council leader and developers. SEE LINK, LINK, LINK,

It's too late for any modification now - the planning committee decision is literally 'set in concrete', but perhaps there are lessons to be learnt for future developments.

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...

'Officers consider that the proposed development will be an acceptable addition to the local context in terms of height and scale.'

You only have to look at the drawing, below that extract from the Planning Officers' report, to know what nonsense that statement is.

The height and scale of the new "Twin Towers" will totally dominate the three storey "context" of Wembley High Road, and even dwarf the taller modern block of flats across Park Lane from it.

I am sure that all of the councillors on Planning Committee could see that, and half of them would not accept the Planning Officers' recommendation, although only two members had the courage to vote against what the planners (and Council Leader?) wanted.