We are at the meeting of the City Planning and Transportation meeting this morning where the City has come up with a wizard wheeze to avoid dealing with the planning decision for the Richard Cloudesley School site.
The RCS site straddles the boundary between Islington and the City, so the City planners have decided that the best way of dealing with the planning application for RCS is to let Islington make the decision. In the jargon, they will delegate their powers to the Islington planning committee.
Late on Friday afternoon the chief planning officer for the City, Annie Hampson added an emergency item to the agenda for this morning’s meeting and that is why we are here.
Their argument is that most of the site is in Islington. This ignores that most of the effect of the development will be on residents in the City.
Sir Mark Boleat, planning committee member, has expressed the view that councillors should be excluded from the planning process because they are subject to lobbying by the residents who vote for them. We already have issues where our elected representatives are outnumbered by councillors elected by business, now the last thread of democracy is about to be cut by this measure.
We will let you know what they decide.
An update: The proposal to delegate the planning decision to Islington was defeated 12 votes to 11 following lobbying by our local Councilmen. Mark Boleat CC, as expected, spoke in favour of the motion which would have left residents without elected representation in the RCS planning decision. Graeme Harrower CC spoke against, pointing out that the inclusion of this item onto the agenda at 4pm on Friday could be interpreted as an "Ambush".
Islington Council are scheduled to decide the planning application at their planning committee meeting on 1st March. It is likely that the City will make their decision shortly afterwards, but no date has been set, and revised plans for the tower arrived today.