Croydon Council’s planning committee is “a farce”, and “an avenue for Councillor Scott to push through his anti-suburbia agenda”.
That – referring to Paul Scott, the Labour councillor who is all-powerful on planning matters in Croydon – is the strongly held view of the chair of a large residents’ group in Purley following a meeting last month. The meeting voted to grant permission to build a large block of flats to a private developer whose directors include the wife of a senior Croydon planning officials. No declaration of the relationship between developers’ director and her council planner husband was made until the day of the planning meeting – and long after the planning department had drafted a glowing report in favour of the development.
The Foxley Residents’ Association is now considering taking the matter to the High Court under a Judicial Review to stop the development of a five-storey block of 40 flats in a street which otherwise comprises large family houses.
In a letter from Lolade Onabolu, the chair of Foxley RA, addressed to Councillor Toni Letts, the puppet chair of the planning committee, she wrote, “It is a shame that the planning committee which you chair continues to be a farce and an avenue for Cllr Scott to push through his anti suburbia agenda.
“Even more of a shame that the professional planning team that are supposed to support and care about the borough are merely doing the bidding of Cllr Scott who thinks he knows better than everyone else.
“The patronising comments about ‘affordable’ is but a lame excuse for approving a design that is completely out of character and fails so many of the council’s own plan…
“The bigger shame being that there is no one within the Labour councillors of the planning committee able or willing to call him to order.
“And I personally find your statement that we, the residents, ‘will come to like the building’ to be very insulting to our intelligence…
“All your decisions are based on a narrow-minded political act and not based on housing demand. You make statements that you cannot substantiate. Our roads and our streets will suffer for this.
“A real shame that we have a planning committee that is so partisan, and chaired by someone who is being led by the vice-chair
“There remains several material items that were not properly addressed or dismissed. In a normal or objective world, evidence will be required beyond your planning officer saying, ‘We have addressed the matters’.”
And then the warning of High Court action: “We will be seeking legal advice on all the materials items that were not properly addressed.”
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