Re: MOUNT PLEASANT PLANNING APPLICATION
As I am sure you are aware, the Mayor of London has called in the planning application for the Royal Mail site at Mount Pleasant. In my view, Islington Council and Camden Council should have been permitted to deal with this application on a local level, as they are best placed to respond to local needs and priorities.
However, Boris Johnson decided to intervene, and took it upon himself to assess the developer’s plans. It is shocking to see how little genuinely affordable housing is currently included in the plans, and it is clear that the developers have no intention of listening to local concerns about the importance of affordable homes, good design and public space.
It has been clear from the start that the Mayor has already made up his mind to grant the developers permission to go ahead with their scheme – he told Assembly members in February that this was case of “bourgeois nimbys trying to stop good developments from going ahead”, and last week he said that the proposed Mount Pleasant development was “a beautiful design…It will be a wonderful place to live.”
However, it appears that Boris has failed to understand the plans – he said that Mount Pleasant would deliver “thousands of homes for Londoners” –the actual total on the plans is 681. Only 12% are currently destined for social rent, and there can be no guarantee that any of the other 88% would actually provide homes for Londoners.
Given his series of reckless public statements, indicating his apparent intention to grant permission without bothering to understand the plans, it seems to me that the Mayor of London has prejudiced his position. I do not think that he should be entrusted with the responsibility of making the final decision on this vitally important site. I would urge you to step in before it is too late, and I hope that you will now be able to assure me that the Mayor of London will recuse himself from deciding this planning application.
If the Mayoral call-in is cancelled, the decisions of Islington Council and Camden Council to refuse planning permission should stand, and the developer could then either appeal or submit a more acceptable scheme. The final appeal stage of a large-scale planning application such as this one would lie with you, so it would be appropriate for you to take action on this application at this stage. Thank you for your help in this, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Emily Thornberry MP