As promised, following the granting of planning permission for the KALC development, the Grenfell Action Group began work on appeals to both the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, asking each of them to call-in the decision for independent scrutiny. We sent off our letter to the Mayor on 23rd October and followed this with a similar letter to Mr Pickles on 30th October. You can find the full version of this letter via this link: Our Objections
Until recently local residents believed, and were entitled to believe, that the Lancaster Green open space was protected by the Council because of its vital function as both residential amenity and public open space, and believed that its designation by the Council as a public park was a guarantee of that protection.
In our letters we claimed that the planning committee was negligent, failed to exercise due diligence, and did not subject the planning application to the rigorous scrutiny it warranted, despite clear and voluminous information we had provided which highlighted the need for such scrutiny. We claimed that neither the Local Planning Authority nor the Major Planning Development Committee acted with proper regard in assessing the application, which was promoted and championed by the Council itself.
We also presented additional evidence, gleaned from the Committee Report which had been authored by the Executive Director for Planning (ie the supremo of the Local Planning Authority) of improper collusion by the Local Planning Authority with the applicant for planning permission, to the great detriment of the local community.
We argued that local residents, who are vehemently opposed to this development because of the damage it will do to their neighbourhood, and to their quality-of-life, were entitled to expect the Local Planning Authority, acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, to be scrupulously impartial and even-handed when assessing whether the proposals in the Planning Application would comply with policy, and whether the interests of the local community would be properly protected if the plans were approved. This had clearly not happened. The interests of the local community had been ignored, and their rights trampled on.
In closing we reminded the Secretary Of State of the response of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the Mayor of London’s consultation on the Open Space Strategy for the London Plan, which was conducted in the winter of 2009. The RBKC response stated;
“Unlike, most other London Boroughs we do not have any spare capacity for open space to be released to other uses. Open space that has existing or potential value is protected from inappropriate development by Policy LR8 of the adopted Unitary Development Plan, which states that:
To resist the loss of existing open space which meets leisure and recreation needs.
This policy has been strengthened in the Publication Core Strategy to read:
The Council will protect, enhance and make the most of existing parks, gardens and open spaces, and require new high quality spaces to be provided.
We are simply not in a position, and nor would it be appropriate, to release open space for other uses which meets the criteria listed above. In those very limited circumstances where open space needs to be re-configured, such as estate re-development, we would expect open space to be provided of an equivalent or better size and quality.”
These words are, of course, utter hypocrisy. The Rotten Borough’s councillors, and the quisling officers who do their dirty work for them, stand condemned by their cynical and shameful lies. In our view these deceitful words, and the misrepresentations, manipulations and distortions of the Core Strategy and London Plan policies we discovered in both the planning application and the Committee Report, are an affront to the RBKC policy on parks and open spaces, an affront to the Mayor of London’s open space policy, and an affront to the Secretary Of State’s Planning Policy Guidance for Open Space Sport and Recreation. They are also an affront, and a grotesque insult, to the residents of Lancaster West Estate for whom we speak.
Please read our full text here: Our Objections