100 Avenue Road: Approving new CMP in private ‘deeply disappointing’ – councillors

The plans for Theatre Square in Swiss Cottage has prompted a major public backlash

The plans for Theatre Square in Swiss Cottage has prompted a major public backlash - Credit: Archant

Campaigners and councillors have railed against an alleged lack of transparency after Camden Council approved a new 100 Avenue Road Contruction Management Plan in private.

The revised CMP - proposed in October last year by developers Essential Living and their new contractor Mace - will see articulated lorries travel through Swiss Cottage Open Space en route to the building site.

Cllr Leo Cassarani (Lab, Swiss Cottage) told this newspaper: "It's disappointing that it's possible for officers to overrule us. That's something I would like to change. People expect when they elect a local rep that they are going to be able to take decisions on their behalf."

Janine Sachs, who chairs Save Swiss Cottage (SSS), wrote to the Ham&High saying this was "a huge blow" and added: "Since unelected officials overturned the scrutiny of the public planning committee, no more consultation on any further amendments, however material, will be worth its salt."

Citing a lack of trust, Cllr Cassarani said: "Whether or not the CMP is better or worse than the previous one, the really important thing is this is quite controversial and it's important to be open."

This was echoed across the aisle by Cllr Oliver Cooper, leader of the borough's Tory group, who said: "The members' briefing panel recommended it come to committee. That's only advisory in law but every single other recommendation made has been followed that I'm aware. It's deeply disappointing to see that scrutiny being bypassed."

A Camden Council spokesperson said the decision was made "after careful consideration" which took into account local residents' concerns, which the council said it shared. In response to why the decision was made behind closed doors, the spokesperson said: "This follows the council's normal procedure, rather than taking the unprecedented step of referring them to planning committee."

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They said this was the "fairest and most reasonable" approach.

SSS had an application for judicial review of the now-amended CMP rejected in the High Court in May 2019. The new tower block is set to be completed in mid-to-late 2022.