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TORRIANO: Cllr de Souza was wrong to back pub developers

PUBLISHED: 15:01 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 07 September 2010

I was disappointed that Cllr de Souza, the sole Green Party representative on Camden s planning committee, voted in favour of proposals which would put the future of the Torriano pub, as it currently operates, in serious jeopardy. I am even more disappoi

I was disappointed that Cllr de Souza, the sole Green Party representative on Camden's planning committee, voted in favour of proposals which would put the future of the Torriano pub, as it currently operates, in serious jeopardy.

I am even more disappointed that she has now chosen to use your pages (H&H letters, October 16) to attack those councillors who turned the proposals down.

To put the record straight, the planning reasons for my decision were as follows:

a) The developer's plans would have destroyed the performance venue that currently operates very successfully in the pub basement; Camden's development plan specifically protects community and leisure facilities;

b) The proposals would have replaced the current five- bedroom flat above the pub with two small flats which, according to Camden's own floor-space standards, would only be suitable for occupation by a maximum of two people. So a large family-sized flat, currently used by the landlords, their family and staff, would have been lost forever.

This is contrary to Camden's development plan which says quite clearly that family-sized units should be protected.

Cllr de Souza's letter completely ignores this aspect of the committee's decision.

Cllr de Souza says that she hopes the developers will now sell the freehold of the pub to Dean and Suzi, the current landlords. I agree. But if the other members of the committee had followed Cllr de Souza's lead and approved the developer's proposals, the developer would have had no incentive to negotiate with anyone.

By turning down the proposals, members of the committee sent the clearest possible signal to the developers that they must respect the principles of Camden's development plan, which in turn reflects the priorities of the local community.

David Abrahams

(Lib Dem) Development Control Committee vice-chair, Camden Council

I know there were some weighty matters to consider, but everyone who turned up at 7pm to support the Torriano - including parents - had to wait over two hours, until after 9pm, for the deputation to be heard!

Councillors in my opinion did not strike the right balance between respecting all of those who had turned up, and the order of its business.

In July, executive councillors made over 100 or so children and parents who were there to protest about the plans to build on Edith Neville School in Somers Town, wait for two hours while other, less important items of business were dealt with.

Camden Council needs to look again at how it deals with the public in matters such as this. It just doesn't seem to recognise how out-of-touch it looks to local people when it makes large deputations of people wait for hours, while other business is dealt with first - as was the case with the Torriano pub decision on October 9. So cut the waffle Camden, and look again at how you deal with the public!

Awale Olad

Labour Party Candidate for

Kentish Town Ward

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