Local campaigners and local Lib Dem councillors have been vindicated today, as Haringey Council has now ruled invalid the hugely controversial planning decision on the backlands site at Cecile Park, Crouch End. The July decision by the Planning Committee caused outrage among local residents, and resulted in an appeal by local MP Lynne Featherstone and Lib Dem councillors to have the decision scrapped.
Lib Dems and local residents had accused Labour of outrageous shenanigans over the chairing of the Planning Committee, and flagrantly disregarding the Council’s constitution.
The Labour Chair, Cllr. Peacock was forced to step out of the meeting because of a declared personal and possible prejudicial interest with the developers. The Deputy Chair was absent for the same reason. In what is supposed to be a politically neutral body, the Labour chair of the committee Cllr. Sheila Peacock on leaving the meeting simply ‘ordained’ another Labour councillor as chair rather than letting the committee decide for itself as set out in Haringey Council’s constitution.Lynne Featherstone MP and Lib Dem councillors wrote to Haringey Council, urging it to suspend the issuing of permission certificates, rule the decision “non-determined” and allow an already scheduled Planning Appeal into two previous refusals to determine this application.
Local MP Lynne Featherstone comments:
“We have been vindicated entirely in our claims that the decision was made improperly. Haringey’s Planning Committee has been exposed to ridicule over the way it conducts its business, potentially exposing the council to enormous costs. Labour’s disregard for the rules has been simply shocking as they try to push this terrible development through.”
Lib Dem councillor for Crouch End, David Winskill, adds:
“Thankfully this development has been stopped for now, but we believe that the decision should now be being made by an external planning inspector through the appeal process. It is clear that the planning process has been brought into disrepute here, and when the application comes back to the committee on 11th September, the Committee must be scrupulous in demonstrating to residents that they will listen to their arguments and take them into account. “