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Jun 06 2015

Labour’s Planning Decisions: “Inconsistent and Muddled” Says Marilyn

conservative_logoDear editor

I would draw iHarrow readers’ attention to the 27th May Planning Committee meeting where I was in attendance making representations regarding applications in Stanmore Park Ward, the ward I represent on the Council.

I was most disappointed by the inconsistency and muddled thinking demonstrated by certain of the Councillors serving on the Committee. In particular, Cllr. Barry Kendler (Labour) who was reserving for Cllr. Anne Whitehead.

This was in respect of an application at 1 Sudbury Hill for the demolition of five detached houses and the construction of 68 flats. Cllr. Kendler started out well in questioning the Council’s highways expert about the impact on the traffic of such an intensive development. I was thinking that he was on the right track in pointing out how dangerous it would be at such a busy intersection. I impressed that he grasped the difficulties that would arise regarding the right turn both in and out of the development.

A little later on, Cllr. June Baxter a Harrow on the Hill Councillor (Conservative), proposed refusal for many sound reasons and so I thought things were definitely looking up.

However, then it all fell apart for Labour. Cllr. Kendler, the Chairman of the Council’s Traffic Panel, said he was minded to vote in favour of the application and this was in spite of having spoken so eloquently only moments earlier about the traffic problems it would cause, and in spite of Brent Council having lodged an objection to it, and in spite of a concerned local resident who had ably spoken against it. How is this possible I thought? How can anyone be so contradictory and confused that they would support a proposal about which, literally only moments earlier, they had expressed such grave reservations. And how, for that matter, can people so flippant in discarding their concerns be trusted over something as important as planning?

It went to the vote and was approved by the Labour Councillors all of whom seemed concerned about the impact it would have in this locality and yet they brushed this aside by simply asking for their concerns ‘to be minuted’ such that, when things inevitably go wrong and there is traffic chaos once it is up and running, they might be able to make it all better by introducing some highways measures. ‘Too late by then’, I thought.

Having previously served on the Committee for twelve years and having Chaired it for four, I have had considerable experience of how Planning should work – and it’s not rocket science. If Cllr. Kendler was as concerned as he stated at the meeting about the traffic and access and egress from the site, he should have rejected it. That is what Planning Committees are there for – to review and scrutinise the officers’ recommendation which in this case, sadly, was wrong. Who suffers? The road users and local residents.

Cllr. Marilyn Ashton (Conservative)
Stanmore Park Ward

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