Tag Archives: consultation

Wandsworth submits Plough Lane appeal

Wandsworth Council has submitted an official application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Development to have the Plough Lane development called in, we hear. Their grounds for a call-in are that the development has a serious impact on their area not just Merton so they want an impartial and objective authority to determine the application.

Merton cannot be trusted on Plough Lane plans

If their request is accepted, it would mean the Galliard Homes/AFC Wimbledon planning application is the subject of a full inquiry by an independent planning inspector.

Any interested party can call for a planning application to be called in, resulting in a full investigation of all relevant documentation – not just the materials assembled by the planning officers for the local authority involved.

The mystery of how Merton does its business

So whatever your view on having a 20,000-seat football stadium and 600+ home development built in Plough Lane, if you’re not confident that Merton Council has considered it fully and objectively, it’s your chance to ensure areas including transport, traffic, health, education and flooding do get properly investigated.

If you also believe this application is too important to allow it to be decided by Merton Council alone, you need to write to The National Planning Casework Unit (NPCU), which is responsible for central Government planning casework. It is via the NPCU that you can request that the Secretary of State calls in a planning application. The contact details for the NPCU are:

Email: npcu@communities.gsi.gov.uk

NCPU, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW

Copy in your request to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid Email: sajid.javid.mp@parliament.uk

Mayor washes his hands of Plough Lane application

Two days before his self-imposed deadline, the Mayor of London announced on Monday that he would step back from taking over planning permission for the Galliard Homes/AFC Wimbledon application for Plough Lane and return it to Merton Council to decide the case itself.

Read Sadiq Khan’s full letter here.

His decision comes exactly as predicted by our London Assembly Member Leonie Cooper while the so-called consultation process was still ongoing, as well as by the Leader of Merton Councillor Stephen Alambritis. Which makes a cynic wonder whether the decision had been pre-determined all along.

Wilful spin by Merton Council

Meanwhile, we hear that Wandsworth Council is strongly considering an appeal to the Secretary of State over whether Merton Council should be allowed to make the final decision on an application which is right on the borough border and has so much potential impact on their borough.




Wilful spin from our council of shame

No wonder AFC Wimbledon thinks planning permission for Plough Lane is a slam dunk, given the skewed propaganda disseminated by Merton Council. Our council is either getting it wrong by misrepresenting the position of the Mayor of London’s office, or it has been given the inside track on this issue, ‘knowing’ that whatever submissions are forthcoming during the two-week consultation period (which ended on August 10), the AFC Wimbledon/Galliard application will be heading back its way one day very soon.

Merton says on its website: “In a report published today, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has indicated his preference to hand the decision back to the council.

“The Mayor announced today a Greater London Authority (GLA) public consultation into how best to progress AFC Wimbledon’s planning application to build a football stadium and flats in Plough Lane, Merton, prior to making a final decision.

“The report makes clear that the Mayor is minded to return the authority to make the decision to Merton Council, where the cross party planning committee agreed in December 2015 to grant permission.”

What the GLA report actually says is: “It is recommended that the Mayor’s request to consider reversing the previous Mayor’s decision to act as planning authority is consulted on for 14 days, after which the Mayor will be able to consider the option of returning the application to Merton Council to determine.”

Wilful spin is not what you expect from your local council. Wilful spin and misrepresentation of the facts is what we are getting. Shame on you, Merton Council.




Sadiq Khan: sticking up for residents

A little reminder that as MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan was happy to stand up for residents over worries about the implications of a large-scale housing development and football stadium on the borders of his Tooting ward.

The letter he submitted to Merton about the AFCW/Galliards application can be read here: http://www.sadiqkhan.org.uk/have_your_say_on_the_future_of_plough_lane_sw19

It would be interesting to know the views of his successor as MP for Tooting, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan. From posts on her website and Twitter feed, affordable housing, local transport issues including train capacity and Crossrail 2, and air quality feature among her interests: all relevant to the Plough Lane application.


Merton cannot be trusted on Plough Lane application

The Mayor of London has announced a short, 14-day consultation period during which representations can be made on whether he should overturn Boris Johnson’s decision to take over responsibility for the Plough Lane planning application.
Comments must be submitted by August 10, 2016.
So why can’t Merton Borough Council be trusted with the decision?
1 Their consultation process on the original application was a joke.
2 They had clearly pre-determined the application before it even went before the planning applications committee.
3 No one on the planning committee declared an interest in the application from AFCW despite their clear bias in favour of the applicants.
4 Officers presenting the scheme at the planning committee effectively acted as advocates for the applicant.
5 Traffic, infrastructure, flooding, air pollution: Merton has blatantly papered over any potential problems with the application in its opaque desire to bring a football stadium to Plough Lane whatever the cost.
6 It is allowing the developers to get away with offering a paltry 9.6% affordable housing against a borough target of 40%. The new Mayor of London was elected on a pledge of 50% affordable for new developments.

Comments can be emailed to : planningadmin@london.gov.uk



Wannabe mayors stay schtum on Plough Lane

No real news here, folks! But in the interests of keeping residents informed about developments in the Plough Lane planning saga…

Asked by the Wimbledon Guardian about what decision they would make on AFC Wimbledon’s stalled Plough Lane plans,  Sadiq Khan said:

“If I were Mayor I would have to be very careful not to open myself up to challenge by giving a view as a potential Mayor that would jeopardise me looking at the scheme as a whole. As Mayor I would look at the merits and make a decision based upon the advice from those in City Hall. The job of the Mayor is to represent all 32 boroughs and so what I shouldn’t do is prejudice that decision by giving a view as a potential Mayor.”

Zac Goldsmith said:

“I would have to go through details and look at points in a way that that, as a mayoral candidate, I haven’t. For these developments you need to have communities in agreement. I think he made the right decision to call it in, but I’m not going to go into details related to this plan.”

Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon has called on football fans to spam email both candidates urging them to support their Plough Lane plans. And Wimbledon Park councillors have suggested to residents: ‘There will be further consultation prior to the Mayor determining the outcome of the application and we encourage you to make your views known to him.’

The mystery of how Merton does its business…

A brief summary of the current situation for those watching developments in the saga of Plough Lane:

AFC Wimbledon is awaiting final go ahead from the Mayor of London to set up home there; greyhound fans are upset that they will be turfed out of London’s last remaining racing track; the stock car community is fed up that they will lose their Sunday night sport; and Galliard Homes want to build a dense 602-home development on part of the site with a minimal offering of less than 10% affordable housing.

Merton Borough Council approved theAFCW and Galliard Homes plans back in December, but the ‘SaveWimbledon’ consortium, as the stock car racing community have styled themselves, believe that the decision was taken in haste and without due consideration of other sports currently using the site.

They say of the December planning meeting: “Further reading through the 266 page transcript and viewing of the webcast of the meeting have highlighted a number of areas of concern.”

As a result, they say, they have lodged a procedural complaint with Merton Borough Council, adding:  “On the basis of our experience to date, we fully expect our complaint to be rejected by Council Leader Steve Alambritis, in which case we will continue to respect the formal process and simply raise our concerns further up the democratic line.”

Concerns about the way Merton’s planning department operates are not limited to the Plough Lane redevelopment. Other community groups ( RavensburyGrove    @MitchamCrktGrn )have expressed dissatisfaction with the partisan approach taken to applications by planning officers who, when presenting them to the planning committee, appear to act more as advocates for the developers than independent assessors. In addition, concerns have been voiced about the way the council handles consultation processes, and the way council reports seem to parrot developers’ proposals.

It’s what Cllr Alambritis calls “taking a businesslike approach” for the council, often through its futureMerton team, to work with the commercial sector in order to make sure our borough gets the best outcomes, but it is a relationship that requires close scrutiny in order to ensure that democratic processes are not neglected.

That level of scrutiny appears to be lacking in Merton at present. For example, what are the terms of reference under which futureMerton, part of Cllr Andrew Judge’s environment and regeneration department, operates? Who runs it? What are they working on at present?

futureMerton has its own page on the council’s website but it carries a distinct whiff of tumbleweed: “This web page is under development for summer 2013. In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter @futureMerton ”

The @futureMerton twitter feed is a ghost town with no tweets, followers, media, likes… nada.

We as residents pay for these services, why are kept in the dark about what they are up to?