Labour councillors were accused last night of hiding behind the complexities of planning law to deflect attention from their failure to back local residents in the overwhelming opposition against the development on Pinkham Way.
Supported by hundreds of protesters in the public gallery and outside Wood Green Civic Centre, local Liberal Democrats tabled a motion highlighting the unsuitability of the residential site for a waste processing plant and lorry depot.
Speeches by councillors Solomon and Jenks reiterated the failures in the Council’s and the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA) public consultation and the way in which the Labour Council changed land use designation, which made the Pinkham Way proposals possible, without proper public consultation.
However, Labour members refused to back local people and claimed that the Council could not express a view on the application.
Campaigners finally get major concessions from authorities
Campaigners did receive welcome news that the Council, following talks with the NLWA, announced the planning application would not be heard until further details come forward and the waste plan is finalised.
Local Liberal Democrats, whilst welcoming the extra time for residents to have their say, branded this a diversion and have said that the last minute u-turn showed that Labour had not been listening and has only recently under pressure started to take the issue seriously. The concessions provided by the Council, Liberal Democrats said, were down to the determination of local campaigners; they vowed that their fight against the Pinkham Way proposals would continue.
Bounds Green councillors fail their residents
In a further twist, local Bounds Green councillors also failed to back the Liberal Democrat motion. Liberal Democrats have accused these Labour councillors of failing their residents by not standing up to the development despite saying they were against the plans.
Cllr Juliet Solomon (Alexandra Ward) comments:
“Labour have let residents down and, every step of the way, failed to put local people at the heart of this important issue. I’m glad that the Council has finally started to see sense but it is too little, too late. Labour would rather hide behind procedure than back their constituents against Pinkham Way – this was made very clear last night.
“The concessions from the Council are thanks to local campaigners backed by Liberal Democrats who have made Labour sit up and finally take notice.
“Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough so I will continue the Liberal Democrat fight against Pinkham Way.”
Lynne Featherstone MP, adds:
“The huge crowds yesterday at the Civic Centre show the strength of public feeling on Pinkham Way. There are still so many questions hanging over Labour’s involvement in this issue, a few concessions on the timing of this development are not enough.
“This site is not suitable for this major development, and together with local residents, I will fight the plans tooth and nail. Rest assured, we are on your side.”