Barnet’s Labour councillors have slammed Conservative-run Barnet Council for failing to defend at Appeal the Planning Committee refusal of the 1,350-unit development with up to 11 storey blocks proposed for North London Business Park (NLBP).

Correspondence from the Government obtained by Labour councillors in a Freedom of Information request states that:

“…costs are awarded only on grounds of unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense in the appeal process.  The Inspector recommended that your client’s application for a full award of costs is justified on the basis of the Council failing to produce either written or verbal evidence to substantiate the reasons for refusal of the application, and providing only vague and generalised assertions, unsupported by objective analysis, about the proposal’s impact.”

Labour Brunswick Park councillor, Kathy Levine said:

“This Conservative-run Council just will not stand up to developers. I’m absolutely furious that the Council made no effort to represent the views of residents at the Appeal hearing.

“The developer won the Appeal then came back with a massively increased proposal of 2,500 units on the same site, which is more than an 88% increase in density. They were clearly encouraged by whatever was said at the Appeal.

“I spoke at the Planning Committee objecting to the scheme and wrote to the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State giving my objections to the Planning application as the local councillor. I asked the Council and the Secretary of State if I could speak at the Appeal but wasn’t called.

“Barnet Planning is outsourced to Capita and they recommended acceptance of the proposal which was overturned by the Planning Committee. Labour will bring planning back in-house if we win the local elections in May.”

Labour candidate for Brunswick Park, Paul Lemon said:

“We thank Kathy for her tireless work on this over the years. If elected in May, myself and my other Brunswick Park candidates – Tony Vourou and Giulia Monasterio – will also fight with the same tenacity for residents, and not allow the Council to keep letting residents down time and time again.”.

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