Lambeth council should “do more, not less” in consulting the public on planning matters

Lambeth Town Hall - Pic by Laura Spargo
Lambeth Town Hall – Pic by Laura Spargo

The changes Lambeth council has proposed for the way it consults the public on planning matters has been called into question.

In a bid to cut costs, the council will be “concentrating on methods that work well” and “phasing out” less effective ones.

This includes no longer providing libraries with hard copies of planning applications.

However, Bill Linskey from Brixton Society said the most important thing is that the public are made fully aware of planning proposals that have been submitted to Lambeth.

Linskey said: “On first reading, the Council appear to only be promising to undertake the minimum statutory consultation. Everything else is qualified by phrases such as, ‘may consider …’ or, ‘where appropriate …’. We should look at what they do, rather than what they say.

“The application for illuminated advertising boarding on the Prince of Wales site was so poorly advertised that there were no comments submitted the day prior to the closing date.

“The Brixton Society noticed this when preparing its own comment and tipped off the Urban75 blog. Hundreds of objections followed; the deadline for comments was extended; and the application was eventually refused.

“The Council should be doing more, not less, to ensure that people know about applications affecting their neighbourhood.”

Cllr Jack Hopkins, cabinet member for jobs and growth, said: “We’re facing the biggest financial challenge ever and have to find £90m of savings so we’re looking at everything we do to see whether it’s value for money.

“We know that workshops and focus groups are more useful than a mass mailing, there’ll be better information online that people can use at home or in libraries.”


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