More than two weeks after it was first announced to Southwark News, the Council have now given details of the new consultation on the SPD.

A letter from the new Leader, Peter John, was received on Saturday 5 June by many of our subscribers who have written to him independently. It gives the date of the new consultation as six weeks from 3 September and says it will relate to the same SPD document as the earlier – rather discreet – consultation.

The letter was accompanied by a puzzling FAQs and answers document.

The formal announcement of details of the new consultation brings to a successful conclusion the first stage of our campaign to stop local planners riding roughshod over local opinion. It follows two weeks of pressure on Peter John and the Planning Department to say what their vague announcement of a new consultation was to amount to in practice.

In another encouraging climb-down, the planners now appear to have conceded that all comments and objections on the SPD – whether received before or after the original deadline – will be treated equally. Writing to another of our subscribers, Michael Carnuccio – the poor unfortunate with the job of collating objections – announced that more than 250 comments had been received and it would take most of the rest of this month to get them into a ‘database’ and subsequently reported on the Southwark Website.

By far the most extraordinary of the answers provided by Peter John is the admission that Sellar paid Southwark Council for ‘technical work that was done by the Council on the SPD’. This of course may explain a lot. It may also be no coincidence that the announcement came just when Head of Planning, Simon Bevan, had undertaken to answer our Freedom of Information inquiry regarding collaboration with Sellar over the SPD (see link to Southwark Exposed – 6 April letters onwards).

We are of course pressing both the Planning Department and the Leader’s Office for clarification (and still waiting for the promised FOI responses) and will publish the result as soon as we have one.


4 Comments

  1. JH says:

    To hear that SC was taking money from a prospective developer to pay for the SPD smacks of something much more serious than anything previously reported. I will be personally asking SC to investigate whether this is allowed, whether its staff or anoyone connected to the payments needs to be investigated for any sort of possible undue influence or accepting (corporately) moneies which should not be allowed, and if there werwe any other payments or inducements made to staff of SC in any influential position in relation to planning.

  2. Russell. says:

    We have asked them JH. They have been promising an answer to our FOI request to disclose all their dealings with Sellar for some weeks. They have been stalling -no surprises. Last Thursday we were told by the Head of Planning, Simon Bevan, that all would be revealed the next day. On Friday the legal department put their foot down and told us it would take another week. What are they frightened of?

  3. John Corey says:

    Does the more recent announcement from Russell address JH’s question?

    Independent of what was communicated in Russell’s update, is it illegal for someone with a local interest to request meetings or otherwise engage with the planners as to what could be possible? If there is a line, what is the line that SC is supposed to follow? I do not mean the line we might like, I am talking about the actual line that defines the rules when talking to anyone with a vested interest (member of the community or otherwise)? At the end of the day just about anyone who speaks to a planner or to SC will have some sort of vested interest.

  4. John Corey says:

    The other conversations is:

    Southwark collaboration with Sellar over SPD revealed under Freedom of Information Act

    The URL is below. Or use the hotlinks on the right side of the present page.

    http://www.bstowers.com/?p=463

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