At the handful of Planning Committee meetings I’ve attended the staff from
Mrs. Susan Clark downwards have always seemed quite impressive to me. Unlike the
typical Director or Deputy Director, planning staff always seem to know the answers. The
brown envelope culture of where I used to live in Hampshire is nowhere to be
seen but occasionally you have to wonder if attempts to influence planning
officers come from a direction difficult to resist.
Whilst looking at Bexley’s Planning Portal in connection with yesterday’s reference to a possible planning malpractice I stumbled upon the address of 55 Brunswick Road which sounded very familiar to me. On 6th June the Planning Committee’s Agenda included this…
55 Brunswick Road is currently a small bungalow and there have been several attempts to get permission to knock it down and build a small block of flats. It is far from what you might call a ‘posh’ road and already includes maisonettes.
The council officers can’t see a problem. They have gone through the usual routine of consulting such bodies as the Transport and Traffic people, Environmental Health, The Bexley Civic Society and Thames Water. 57 such bodies if you believe Bexley council’s website. (I don’t, there are loads of duplicate consultations.)
None of them had any objections and as you can see above, the planners recommended the application for approval.
However once again it was turned down by councillors.
I wondered why. Then I saw this attached to the list of planning comments…
… and I went to the Documents tab to look through the list
of comments. All favourable but Linda Bailey’s wasn’t there. Maybe someone more
adept at searching the Planning Portal will double check it for me.
Then I remembered why 55 Brunswick Road sounded so familiar. I looked at the scribbled notes Elwyn Bryant and I took from the Register of Members’ Interests when we inspected them in May 2011. Guess who lives at (or owns) No. 45?
You are right, she does. Naturally I couldn’t possibly comment.