Authors: Cyril Richert, David Hargreaves
The part dedicated to the proposal was a thoroughly dismal affair. Only Cllr Belton spoke against the 8 storeys, favouring 6. He also criticised the way CJAG’s contributions had been subsumed into a general category (following our complaint regarding the treatment given to those comments), saying that CJAG had been the most vocal community group over the last couple of years. Cllr Randall made a comment on the design.
Otherwise there was (or looked like for some observers at the time) an almost total lack of interest from the other Councillors . No discussion whatever of alterations to the top floor. No discussion whatever of parking problems, except when one planning officer present said there was an “assumption” that all guests would arrive by rail. Nobody demurred.
Councillor Vanessa Graham, a good friend of the architect, left the room before presentation and therefore did not take port on the decision, nor vote.
Approval was given overwhelmingly.
We now hope that efforts will be made by the developers to make this proposal a success for Clapham Junction area. We know from discussing with the developers that a hotel operator has still to be found, but we see that as a clear encouragement given to local developers with reasonable projects.
We are disappointed that the Committee did not take the opportunity to debate more on the different issues raised by comments submitted. Points raised by Tony Belton and Billi Randall should have been the occasion of discussions instead of the rest of the Committee only waiting for vote-time. We would have thought that it makes a better explanation of the decision process and shows local democracy at its best… instead of giving the impression that real decision are taken behind closed doors.
As showed by the unanimous vote of the members of the Committee, approving a planning permission does not mean they cannot discuss some aspects of it. On the issue of parking, the Council could have also made a point to address the issue, independently of the developers plan (as we suggested – in a way supported by the developers). Apparently it was decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
The Council has reported on the decision in its press-release today.
 However one of them said that they thought that there was not enough to argue against and it would have made no difference. As I said previously, half of the Committee is new and but hopes to build knowledge on planning issues quickly for good.
 As I said previously, half of the Committee is new and but hopes to build knowledge on planning issues quickly for good.