Call for deferring planning meeting on Sudbury Town Station carpark’s future denied
PUBLISHED: 18:41 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:47 01 May 2020
A former council leader has slammed Brent Council for denying his request to defer a planning meeting on the future redevelopment of a Sudbury car park.
A committee meeting for the proposed redevelopment of Sudbury Town Station car park will be heard online on Wednesday.
Transport for London plans to sell the 80-space facility to developers Pocket Living, retaining just three bays for disabled people, should the contentious application to build 52 “discounted” homes on the site be approved.
Paul Lorber, former Liberal Democrat councillor for Sudbury, wrote to Brent Council asking that the meeting be deferred “until things return to normal” so that committee councillors could meet residents during a site visit.
He said not doing so “raised a number of implications” as it “denies members of the public or even councillors to request a site meeting” and “denies any member of the public without the internet or ability to join the online meeting of the right to participate”.
His letter added: “It is normal in cases of these types of applications and in cases where there is a large amount of community interest to have a site meetings where residents’ concerns can be seen and heard on site for the councillors making the decisions to be better informed before making a decision.”
But Brent Council has said that site visits can only take place “under exceptional circumstances”.
Objections by local residents have previously been reported by this paper.
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A spokesperson for Sudbury Tenants and Residents Association (STRA) said last year: “The car park is a vital amenity for local residents, particularly the elderly, disabled, parents with pushchairs and young children, and those that find it difficult to use the stairs.
“This station is unique and fully accessible to all who are mobility challenged, as they can park their car next to the station and have step free access to the platforms.”
Mr Lorber added: “Local people have lost confidence in the planning process in Brent and Brent Council, by failing local people, has lost all credibility.”
Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said: “We have a vital role to play in unlocking the potential of our land to deliver the homes that the capital desperately needs.
“We conducted a survey to assess the site’s suitability for development and the impact on users (and) we are proposing to retain the disabled parking bays as part of the development.”
A Brent spokesperson added: “In response to the COVID19 pandemic, new legislation has enabled local authorities to hold meetings remotely, so that democratic oversight can be maintained rather than allowing decision making to grind to a complete halt or to be delegated to council officials during the current lockdown.
“Rather than just postpone all council meetings indefinitely, we are working within the new rules and have innovated to make the best use of video conferencing technology to ensure virtual site visits and public meetings, including planning committee can go ahead.
“The meeting will be accessible remotely via Zoom to anyone who wants to take part in the proceedings and it can be followed via the live stream, given that Government’s current advice remains to stay at home.”
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