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Developers will take liberties if they are allowed to

PUBLISHED: 12:53 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:06 07 September 2010

PLANNING officers are anonymous people but the decisions they take can impact immensely on peoples lives. As a rule they don t like to get bogged down in legalities, and seem to have a special dread of public inquiries, even though these are important p

PLANNING officers are anonymous people but the decisions they take can impact immensely on peoples' lives.

As a rule they don't like to get bogged down in legalities, and seem to have a special dread of public inquiries, even though these are important parts of the due process.

That's why they sometimes recommend acceptance of what are clearly inappropriate levels of development. In their defence, they often feel the system is weighted against them and that eventually a persistent applicant will prevail, making all resistance futile and ultimately wasteful.

Not before time, some Camden councillors are calling for a review of planning processes. Councillors should take the bull by the horns. As elected representatives, they should drive and manage the borough's planning policy, instead of merely nodding through controversial applications, as has happened in the past. They need to stand up to developers, and show a steely determination to see things through to a proper conclusion in the interests of those they represent.

Last week's 'revolt' was occasioned by the outlandish Fitzroy Farm application - but Dalby Street, Little Green Street, Estelle Road and Athlone House are other recent examples of developers taking liberties, and there are many more.

Let's hope this is the start of a lasting change in the way these issues are approached and handled.


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