Following local MP Helen Hayes’ expression of concern about campaigning methods used by supporters of plans for a 20-storey tower in central Brixton, opposing campaigners have taken issue with other aspects of consultation on the project.
The MP said in a submission to Lambeth council’s planning sub-committee that she had been approached by constituents concerned about misleading campaigning methods by paid employees of supporters of the application.
Now “#NoHondoTower” campaigners have commented at length on a document submitted to the planning committee on 17 April this year.
Dated 11 March, the “statement of community involvement” was prepared for the applicants by Lowick, a political communications consultancy which says it specialises in “local engagement” and supports clients to engage with communities and stakeholders.
The campaigners note that the document recorded a strong and high level of opposition to the plans based on two very small samples of opinion in Brixton – one had 98 responses, the other 118.
They charge that some of the questions asked were “shockingly and unfairly ‘leading’”.
In particular, the campaigners say that the second of the two surveys “included another inappropriate ‘leading’ question”.
This was: “Do you support the introduction of much-needed office space in Brixton, which will create … 2,000 new jobs, contain 20,000 square feet of affordable workspace and will result in increased footfall and £3.5m spend in the local area per year?”.
The potential economic, social and employment benefits of the scheme have increasingly been central to the arguments of the developers and also Lambeth council’s planners.