A Member questioned what the next steps were in relation to this following the Mayor of London’s direction to refuse the planning application. The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director reported that, following the Mayor’s direction to refuse, decision notices had been issued on behalf of the City of London Corporation. At present, the applicant was deciding whether or not to take the matter to appeal. If an appeal was pursued, this would lead to a Public Inquiry and the final decision would be taken by the Secretary of State. If an appeal was not pursued, the Mayor’s decision to reject would rest.
Mansell Street Telephone Boxes
A Member questioned whether the telephone boxes situated on the City side of Mansell Street which was also a red route were the responsibility of the City of London Corporation. She went on to state that the equipment in both telephone boxes was not working and they now tended to be frequently used for anti-social behaviour and as toilet facilities instead. Officers were informed that this matter had been frequently raised by elected Members of the Ward of Portsoken in the past.
The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director stated that she would like the opportunity to investigate this matter further but that her initial feeling was that this would be a matter for the City of London Corporation to enforce. She undertook to revert back to the Member on this in due course.
E-Scooters in the City
A Member wished to pick up further on the points raised briefly under Item 10. She highlighted that the Metropolitan Police were currently undertaking work to highlight that these scooters were a danger and were, at present, illegal for use on the highway. She went on to state that, despite this, she had seen an increasing number of these in the City and questioned what Officers were doing alongside the City of London Police to address this issue locally.
Officers reported that the City of London Police had been out on the streets stopping e-scooters only this week. They added that they would follow up on this point and discuss how they might best ‘reach out’ on this matter alongside the City of London Police going forward.
Planning Applications – Notifications and Objections
A Member highlighted that, at present, the full address of those who registered objections to planning applications was published on the City’s webpages. He questioned whether this was necessary, whether there were any data privacy issues surrounding this, and whether the current policy could be amended to remove at least the house/door number of objectors going forward.
He went on to highlight that he also believed that notifications of planning applications to those who would be potentially affected by proposed developments was currently problematic. He referred specifically to a planning application opposite Lauderdale House that none of the residents of Lauderdale House had received notice of but stated that he was also aware of other examples.
With regard to potential data protection issues around the publishing of the addresses of objectors, the Comptroller and City Solicitor reported that it was important to strike an appropriate balance between privacy and transparency and promoting maximum participation in the planning process. She added that this was currently consistent with the approach adopted by other local authorities but could be re-visited if that was the desire of this Committee.
The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director responded to the points made on notification of planning applications and agreed that this needed to be looked at. She added that notification of the development specifically referred to by the Member would go to Lauderdale House residents. She went on to state that commercial occupiers were not notified but residents were when affected, and public buildings such as churches would also be notified. She added that this particular application had also been advertised within the local press and on site. Wider considerations would have cost implications and would require a review of the Statement of Community Involvement.