Philip Grant writes:
I received an emailed letter on Monday evening from Brent's chief legal officer, Fiona Ledden, confirming the chief planning officer's view that Galliford Try's revised planning application (12/2924) is valid, despite its red site boundary line enclosing a larger area than that agreed by Brent's Executive in January 2012, and which was the basis of the site to be used for the proposed redevelopment.
Her letter contains a new and interesting reason for why the site boundary was changed. She now says that: 'the Council as “Local Planning Authority” needed to re-define the site boundary due to highway considerations.' Last week Galliford Try told the local "Observer" newspaper that they had submitted new site boundary plans, at the request of council officers, because they 'will be undertaking significant landscaping improvements to the area around the cultural centre, including a section of Grange Road, to the benefit of the local community.'
Brent's spokesperson told the newspaper that 'the re-consultation was undertaken because of a technical boundary change' which did not actually affect the proposed works which would be carried out. Fiona Ledden added in her letter to me: 'You will appreciate it is not uncommon for an application of this type to have subsequent minor revisions where necessary.'
So, it was all a misunderstanding (!?). I will take this opportunity to pass on a message of reassurance that Ms Ledden gave me:
'The Council is dealing with a complex planning application. It has two distinct roles in the matter, namely as “local planning authority” and “landowner”. With reference to the former, may I take this opportunity to reassure you that as the Council’s Monitoring Officer, my role is to ensure that due process and transparency is followed by the Council throughout the planning regime having regard to planning policy government guidance and statute, namely the various provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.'
We can all go along to the Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday evening, confident that the planning application will be dealt with fairly and openly.