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Questions on matters relating to the work of the committee


Questions from Mark Bostock


1)        Back in February 2017 the Chief Planning Officer, under delegated powers, gave full planning and listed building consent to the refurbishment of the Golden Lane Estate Community Centre. The planning application included in the Planning Statement (item 1.5) the following statement:


‘It should be noted that there are no current plans to relocate the Estate Office which is located in Great Arthur House and this does not form part of this application’


It has been brought to my attention that the City of London Housing department now plans to move the estate office into the building. As the Community Centre is class D1 and the Estate Office, attracting full business rates would be class B1 or Sui Generis could you please advise as to whether it is necessary for the City to seek planning and listed building approval for this change of use. 


The Chief Planning Officer advised that the Estate Office was not included in the 2017 permission and that she would need to clarify exactly what was proposed before, being able to advise what permissions were necessary and would then contact the member directly.


Mr Harrower then mentioned that as the Golden Lane Estate Community Centre fell within use class D1, and the Estate Office located in Great Arthur House presumably fell within use class B1 or was sui generis, he was not aware of any basis on which the Estate Office could be relocated from Great Arthur House to the Community Centre without an application for planning permission being made to approve a change of use of the Community Centre. This was on basic planning principles, and even without regard being had to the more restrictive rules applying to listed buildings.


He added that in the planning statement made in relation to the application for planning permission for the refurbishment of the Community Centre in February 2017, the Planning Consultant stated that “It should be noted that there are no current plans to relocate the Estate Office which is located in Great Arthur House and this does not form part of this application.”


If that relocation had been part of that application, local residents would have had the opportunity to object to it. If the relocation could now be achieved without the need to apply for permission, because an arguable case could be found in planning law that permission was not needed for this change of use, that outcome would have the effect of preventing local residents from having a say in circumstances in which they had previously received an assurance that no relocation was planned.


He asked that if the position as regards the relocation not needing permission was arguable in planning law, the matter be resolved by an application being made in order to respect the democratic process. 


The Chairman added that, in this event, the legal position as regards the assurance quoted above should also be considered by the City Solicitor.”



2)      The Government has just published the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework along with the draft Planning Practice Guidance for Viability and I would be interested to know how Members might have some input?


The Chairman advised that Paul Beckett, Policy and Development Director, already had this in hand and would contact him.


Question from Henry Colthurst


3)         Henry Colthurst referred to previous discussions at the Committee relating to wind measurement on tall buildings. He asked when the promised "before and after construction" wind measurements on 20 Fenchurch St would be made available. Also he drew the attention of the Committee to the impending completion of three tall buildings on Leadenhall Street and Bishopsgate, together with plans for a further four. Given the huge extra footfall that would be generated and possible wind impact for pedestrians from all such buildings he asked when a full update of relevant wind readings would be provided.


Officers advised that a number of extra trees had been planted outside 20 Fenchurch Street and agreed to produce a full report in due course of relevant and predicted readings.




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