Letter on Redbridge planning meeting approving Christchurch Green kiosk
- Credit: Charles Llewellyn
Closed session was a grave error
Cllr Paul Canal, Redbridge Town Hall, writes:
As a rule, I restrict the remarks I make on planning applications to Redbridge planning committee meetings.
We are required to approach applications with an open mind, and prior comment could give the impression of predetermination (though comments themselves are in fact allowed).
Trust in our planning system is based on transparency, fairness and effective consultation with residents.
That system suffered a near fatal blow when nearly 200 residents objected to the container café on Christchurch Green and it was simply waved through.
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I was open mouthed with astonishment.
It is a requirement that any council application – where the council applies to itself for permission to build - must come before the planning committee.
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That Vision - a third part body set up by Redbridge Council, funded by Redbridge Council, using Redbridge Council land for its application and that relies on Redbridge Council contracts - was not held to the same standard is more than astonishing.
It is in my view an abject failure of governance and a grave error of judgement by officers and the chair.
I make no judgement on the appropriateness or otherwise of this application.
I lament the erosion of community involvement in decisions that shape our local environment.
This process behind this decision is not just difficult to countenance, it is another step towards complete voter disenfranchisement.
Whatever your politics - red, blue, green or yellow - decisions made in this manner should not just give you food for thought, they should make you fear for the future of genuine local democracy.
But all is not yet lost.
I have today written to the council asking that the application be resubmitted, a new consultation period opened, and it is referred to the planning committee.
I would urge our local councillors to support this request, especially as May 2022 is getting nearer.