Labour councillor slams town hall after it approves Wembley 'Twin Towers'
PUBLISHED: 17:25 12 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:51 13 April 2016
A Labour councillor has spoken out about his own party's planning transparency as a controversial "Twin Towers" development in Wembley Central gets the green light.
Cllr Sam Stopp has criticised Brent Council’s consultation processes as plans to demolish Chesterfield House, in Park Lane, has the go ahead to be replaced with 21 and 26 storey buildings.
At a planning meeting last week, two councillors opposed the development submitted by HUB, two abstained and four agreed much to the dismay of a group of residents attending.
Cllr Stopp said: “The council, not the first time, didn’t proactively engage the local community and a lot of residents living near the site came through with concerns that they weren’t aware that this application was even going in. There was a general sense that things were being decided behind closed doors rather than in an open way.”
He added: “There are questions to be made about who is making decisions about which planning application goes ahead. What causes the decision made at planning to be made? Is it just on the merits of the scheme or are there political angles there as well?
“That’s something I’m investigating more.”
He also criticised the development for having too little affordable housing, only 28 per cent, but said it would be good for the community and will bring money into Wembley Central.
Residents who felt they had been locked out of any consultation were disappointed by the result.
Denise Cheong, a Wembley resident, said: “Members of Princes Court and Keswick Gardens, South Meadows, Park Lane Residents Associations and as well as other residents, friends and family in other parts of Brent are disappointed with the decision.
“The council were made aware of infrastructure issues, such as congestion, traffic and parking.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “It is important for local residents to have their say on planning applications that effect them. For this application, we displayed the statutory press and site notices and wrote directly to over 400 residents who live near the application site to inform them of the proposals.
“The consultation that we do is in addition to the consultation that we expect developers to do before they submit their applications to us. Our pre-application consultation guidance for developers is set out in our ‘Statement of Community Involvement’. In this case, the applicant followed the guidance and carried out extensive consultations prior to the submission of the application.
“With regards to impact on local transport and infrastructure, the financial contributions that are to be secured through the Section 106 legal agreement and the community infrastructure levy will be used to identify future options to improve the safety and operation of the junction.”