100 Avenue Road: Planning committee may have been ‘misled’ over Construction Management Plan vote, High Court hears

Demolition underway at 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly Hancock

Demolition underway at 100 Avenue Road. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Camden Council’s planning committee may have been misled when they voted on the Construction Management Plan (CMP) for 100 Avenue Road, the High Court heard this morning.

In a judicial review application brought by Save Swiss Cottage member Janine Sachs, it was argued that at a planning committee meeting in November, members were told they were voting on the same proposal that had been deferred in July.

Instead the proposal had changed in the months between the initial meeting and the second one, in November, which saw the eventual plan passed, the court heard. Beforehand there had been concern about the amount of traffic using residential streets, Eton Avenue and Winchester Road. In July's meeting, committee members had asked planning officers to look again at whether only the A41 could be used.

The plan approved in November included more traffic for Winchester Road and Eton Avenue.

A construction management plan sets out the rules for construction vehicles accessing a site during development work.

Ms Sachs' barrister Tristan Jones told the court: "[Councillors] were in the understanding that they were being asked to approve the version of the CMP that had been put before them in July.

"The things that the committee were told and shown [in the presentation] were premised on the July plans. But there are clear differences in traffic movements."

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He argued that if committee members had been aware of the differences, they may not have backed the plan. Judge Timothy Mould QC was also told the final vote was tied, and the chair's deciding vote went with the officer's recommendation, as is customary.

Judge Mould said Ms Sachs was "right on the money," and that the November plan approved had increased traffic movements using the two residential streets, compared the one heard previously.

Referring to evidence in a transcript from November's planning committee meeting, he said: "The summary of this case is that the committee agreed to this plan, and I am not assured that they did agree to that."

Camden Council's barrister, Morag Ellis QC told the hearing it was clear from the supplementary information given to committee members before last autumn's meeting that there had been some changes to the proposal. The defence's case also said that the two CMPs were not "fundamentally different."

She said: "If you look at the transcripts, this wasn't a case of the committee not listening and voting, at all. They listened carefully and reflected on it."

Work is underway to flatten the former office block in Avenue Road. A 24-storey tower block will be built in its place. It will provide 184 flats, retail and community space.

Judge Mould's decision will be given at 2pm on Friday.