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Planning shock - but no doubt normal service will be resumed

August 14, 2014 11:29 AM
By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

Cllr Jack Cohen being interviewed by the BBCTHE area planning sub-committees are finally up and running. Actually, I discovered they are no longer subcommittees, but committees in their own right.

Four years or so ago the Tory administration disbanded the three parliamentary constituency-based area planning subcommittees. These were replaced by two subcommittees - east and west.

Following the debacle at the annual council meeting, it was discovered that the east and west subcommittees were unlawfully constituted, so at the last council meeting we went back to the three committees.

This, of course, begs the question, if for all that time the planning subcommittees were basically acting ultra vires, what is the situation with all the decisions made? The lawyers can worry about that.

The first meeting of the Finchley and Golders Green planning committee got under way early at 6pm, such was the backlog. Committee room three was standing room only.

The first application was refused contrary to officers' recommendation, by one vote to none. Yes, only one councillor actually voted.

It did get a bit better, but the committee again voted to reject a number of applications which the officers were recommending for approval.

Even more astonishingly, the committee approved two applications the officers recommended for refusal.

Had members taken leave of their senses, or, for once, were we actually listening to residents more and doing what we were elected to do?

I suspect normal service will be resumed by the time we get to the next area planning committee.