CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

100 Avenue Road will have huge repercussions on the local area

10 January, 2020

An illustration of how the new tower will look at 100 Avenue Road in Swiss Cottage

• WE are writing to oppose the one-sided, undemocratic decision by council officers to override the wishes of elected councillors concerning the latest revision of the 100 Avenue Road construction management plan (CMP).

Although the councillors on the cross-party members’ briefing panel had recommended the latest changes should be heard by Camden’s planning committee, which we as ward councillors had campaigned for alongside local residents, senior officers ultimately took the view that the decision on the CMP should be made by them under “delegated powers”, and not by members of the planning committee.

This is an unprecedented decision in our time as councillors and raises very serious questions about the nature of local democracy and accountability within the council; 100 Avenue Road is a large-scale development with huge repercussions on the local area.

We stood and were elected on a platform of giving a voice to local residents and community groups but found in this case that our decision-making powers had been taken away by this ruling. Our residents and community groups are wondering who really runs Camden Council?

Is it the elected representatives that they voted for in 2018 or unelected bureaucrats in the planning department? Although Camden’s constitution allows planning officers to reject the view of the members’ briefing panel, this must surely be a last resort under exceptional circumstances.

How can we build and sustain trust in our democratic institutions when decisions that impact people’s lives and neighbourhoods can be taken behind closed doors against their wishes?

In conclusion, we would like to express our deep concern for this decision and urge the council to allow this application to be heard by the full planning committee in accordance with the wishes of Camden’s elected councillors and the people that we represent.

CLLR LEO CASSARANI
CLLR NAYRA BELLO O’SHANAHAN
CLLR SIMON PEARSON
Labour, Swiss Cottage ward

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