A Councillor for Northcote Ward Battersea sent me a specific question about the leaflet, wondering where I have got the impression that the Council has said that there is only a choice between the proposed scheme or nothing at all for the next 30 years (the opening paragraph of the box headed “Blackmail”). He added that he personally does not recognize that as being the Council’s position.
First and foremost, I welcome the email and thank him for the comment. He is showing the attention that I would expect from all the Council representatives to the residents. Here below are some clarifications.
When I say “Council” I am talking about the “Wandsworth Council” as a whole entity, not about specific individuals. I fully understand that Councillors for Northcote Ward are encouraging residents to ensure that their views are submitted to the Council so that the Planning committee is fully aware of their comments when the application is considered. I made a note about their appeal in the press.
However there are a number of points leading to this assessment.
First, early in October, I had a discussion with the Council’s planning officer. He clearly stated what I wrote: he was going to consider my comment, but I needed to know that this is “either the two tower blocks as per the planning application, or nothing at all for the next 30 years, as neither the Council, the Government or Network Rail want to fund“. This, I call blackmail! (And it was my statement to the journalist reproduced in an article of the South London Press). We also published an exchange with Kate Williams on the website.
Second, I had a quick exchange of emails with another member of the Council as he responded to one of the residents saying (I quote): “It is fair to say that the application is attracting a large number of representations, both for and against.” It would be more accurate to say that about 90% of local residents who sent comments object to the planning, but he chose to be rather economical with the details and made a fairly creative interpretation of the facts. And using pure rhetoric and rudeness in responding “I stand by my comment that this application has attracted a large number of representations (please note the word representations) both for and against. I have no intention of arguing semantics with you and regard the matter as closed” is unfortunately not going to help in changing my opinion. What he calls “semantic“, I call creative writing and question his unbiased view on the subject as a major member of the planning committee.
Third, I am deeply disappointed to see that there is absolutely no news at all from the Councillors of Shaftesbury Ward: why are they not raising the concerns of their constituents?
Fourth, I personally think it awkward that there are so many submissions for building skyscrapers in Wandsworth (Putney, Ram Brewery development and the Battersea Power Station project… what else tomorrow?). Maybe because the Council is keen to consider them?
I welcome the debate on this website, and take the opportunity to remind everyone about the public meeting on the 28th of January at the Wessez House where opportunity to express all views will be offered.