Thursday 18 August 2022

Philip Grant makes FOI request to Brent Council to try to get to the bottom of Rokesby Place tenure change

 Philip Grant, a frequent independent contributor to this blog, has submitted a Freedom of Information request on the tenure of the two new houses in Rokesby Place, following last night's Brent Planning Committee.

 Dear Mr Ansell and Brent FoI team,

I am addressing this email directly to you, as well as to Brent FoI, as you have been delegated the authority to make changes to yesterday evening's Planning Committee decision on application 22/1400 (Rokesby Place), including authority to vary conditions. I would request that you do not issue a consent letter on that application until this Freedom of Information Act request has been fully dealt with, as the answers to it may require an amendment to Condition 3, Affordable Housing.

The reason for this request is my concern about the change made to the type of affordable housing tenure for the two new four-bedroom homes at Rokesby Place, and how this came about, as there does not appear to be any justification for it in the documents for this application published on Brent's planning website.

The application form for 22/1400, submitted by Maddox Associates on 13 April 2022, clearly states for each of the two new homes:

'Tenure: Social Rent'.


The Planning Statement for this application, published on Brent's website on 19 April 2022, when describing the Proposed Development, states:

3.4 The houses are all proposed for social rent.'


Despite this, the proposed Condition 3 in the Officer Report to Planning Committee on 17 August was as follows:

'3. The residential dwellings hereby approved shall be provided as affordable housing in perpetuity, and shall be delivered as London Affordable rent units ....'


Freedom of Information Act Request: 

In order to establish why the tenure of the two houses was changed from Social Rent to London Affordable Rent, please let me have the following information and documents (in pdf format, please) in respect of the Rokesby Place planning application 22/1400, covering the period from 13 April 2022 to 17 August 2022:

1. On what dates in that period were there any communications (other than the Application Form and Planning Statement referred to above), in either direction, between the applicant (or its representatives) and Brent Planning Officers about the type of affordable housing tenure for the two proposed new homes at Rokesby Place?

2. Please let me have copies of all of the communications in 1 above.

3. If any of the copy communications requested under 2 above have names redacted, please provide details of the status, employer and job title of each person whose name has been redacted, if this is not shown on the copy where the name itself has been redacted.

4. If there are no communications of the type requested in 1 above, please explain when, how and why, and on whose authority, the proposed Social Rent tenure (shown in the April 2022 application documents for application 22/1400) was changed to the London Affordable Rent tenure proposed in Condition 3 of the Officer Report in August 2022.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and FoI request. I look forward to receiving your full response to it at an early date. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.

Brent's Head of Planning has replied, saying: 'We will of course look at the questions you raise and respond shortly.'

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...

I submitted this as a comment "For Information", but I was happy for Martin to publish it separately.

When there is an issue like this, where something the Council has done does not seem right, it is worth using the rights we have to challenge them over it.

This can be done courteously, but firmly, which I think is the best attitude to take.

I will share the response I receive to my FoI request with "Wembley Matters" readers, because we all deserve an explanation of how what should have been Social Rent homes secretly got changed to London Affordable Rent.

And if it is not a valid explanation, then the planning condition should be corrected.