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It is time for a change of chair of Camden’s Planning Committee

16 August, 2018

Cllr Heather Johnson

• I AGREE that it is time for a change of chair of Camden’s Planning Committee, (Letters, August 9). Cllr Heather Johnson has not been one to hide her preferences or her attempts to make them happen.

At the original 100 Avenue Road Planning Committee meeting in 2014, despite Cllr Johnson’s best efforts to force it through – the application was rejected. Which is not to say she didn’t try.

I had permission to speak on behalf of Save Swiss Cottage (SSC) about the hundreds of letters of objection that the Council claimed to have “lost”. I also had permission to deputise on behalf of the speaker for Cresta House who could not attend the meeting.

I delivered my paltry 47-second submission on behalf of SSC but when it came time for the Cresta House submission Cllr Johnson refused to let me speak. As a result, Essential Livings’ cynical omission of Cresta House in its calculation that “no one nearby would suffer from loss of light”– did not get heard.

And at the recent 100AR CMP planning meeting – Cllr Johnson refused to call upon for clarifications the one speaker we had deputised to speak on behalf of Swiss Cottage – in contrast to her innumerable calls for clarification from both the council officer (who had recommended the CMP) and the developer’s representative.

Contrary to Cllr Johnson’s obvious wishes, councillors rejected the CMP. The council chamber was then subjected to a shocking display as she ran roughshod over the councillors and tried to force them to condense the several outstanding issues they had raised to just one that Cllr Johnson clearly felt could be quickly resolved with just another statement from TfL.

The CMP could then be forced through at the very next planning committee which was set for mid-August (since moved to September 20) when many committee members and objectors would be on holiday.

Cllr Johnson complains constantly about how rude we are: she, on top of everything else, rebuked our supposed “animal noises” and astonishingly suggested objectors “turn up their hearing aids” when they complained they could not hear. Enough of her, I say!

EDIE RAFF
Former Chair of SSC
Chair of CHRA

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