Punchy planners

PLANNING officers were having a tough time tonight when I popped in for an hour to eyeball the post-election committee for the first time. Their recommendations were being ignored. A new summer house planned for a garden in Belsize Park was spiked after a councillor vote, while noisy roller shutters were given the ko in Saffron Hill. A mix of new faces and a couple of experienced hands were getting stuck in, refusing to bow to that omnipresent threat of their decisions being challenged at a planning inquiry, words which always come with the prefix ‘costly’.

Note too, the man in the chair’s seat. New councillor Thomas Neumark with just one development control meeting under his belt. A daunting job, he seemed to be confident about filling in for the unwell Dave Horan. He certainly had avoided any clashes with angry developers by the time I knocked it on the head at 8ish. Maybe the harder task in the coming months will be tempering the enthusiastic and rebellious planning councillors who rightly won’t have their minds made up simply on officer say-so.

2 Comments on Punchy planners

  1. Good to hear the planning officers are being roughed up a bit. There are quite a few applications lined up that need to be thrown in the bin. Let’s see how long this brave new committee continues.

    Linus Rees


    • It seems after 8.00pm the officers got their own way again. Despite local objections, a 369 metre square restaurant was added to the existing abundance of restaurants and cafes in Fitzrovia. And this in one of Camden’s so-called “neighbourhood centres” (Store Street) where a diverse mix of retail is meant to be protected (despite the efforts of the Bedford Estate to do otherwise).

      Didn’t last long did it? Perhaps the officers have more stamina for this sort of thing than the councillors?

      And the irony of all this is that the next day New London Architecture who are housed in City of London’s property in South Crescent, just off Store Street, opened their week-long festival entitled “We Love Store Street” against a backdrop of hoardings where previously small shops plied their trade quite happily until the Bedford Estate hiked the rents up. And a festival financially supported by the Bedford Estate.

      Linus Rees


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