Monday, 13 May 2013

Brent Cross development - follow up to the "dodgy DPR"

I have received a steady trickle of emails from concerned residents of Barnet following the expose on Sunday of the "Dodgy DPR" detailing how Barnet Council lack the resources to manage the Brent Cross regeneration planning case.

I have received through unofficial channels confirmation that some members of the administration are also concerned with "certain aspects" of the DPR. They have asked me not to go public with their names and what the concerns are (for obvious reasons) but I can say that there are aspects of the Dodgy DPR that I had completely missed.

One of my more esteemed readers (who wishes to remain anonymous) also made the following observation
 Under the latest planning “reforms” (NPPF etc) the government is encouraging developers to carry out greater consultation up front  with the community, stakeholders and Local Planning Authority.  It gives developers the right  to enter into a Local Planning Agreement whereby the developer pays a fee up front to the council and the planning dept gives the scheme priority over other jobs and the priority services of a planner and access to senior planners.   They deny that this is favouritism to the rich developers as the service is available to anybody with access to a four or figure sum ( and the rest) to get what they are supposed to be paying for through their business rates/council tax .  It is immoral queue jumping and inevitably has an undue influence on the planners as they “impartially” consider the application before them.
I am deeply concerned with the repercussions of what is happening to planning in Barnet. I believe that any councillor who buries their head in the sand and doesn't at least acquaint themselves with this issue is negligent in terms of their responsibility to the voters and should hand back their allowance.

So far 29 out of 63 Barnet Councillors have returned a read receipt for the email. I may publish a list of those that haven't. Of course they may have withheld their receipt, but if I were a councillor, I'd want people to know I take my job seriously.

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