Author: Cyril Richert
The Clapham Junction Action Group is committed to raise awareness on better consultation, transparency and taking into account seriously the voice of local residents on planning matters.
Today, as voters are electing their councillors who are going to represent them and take decisions for the borough of Wandsworth for the next 4-5 years, we would like to call for reforms in the way Wandsworth Council is consulting and pushing through planning applications and developments.
We list below a series of aspirations that we hope the next Council will consider.
Meaningful public consultations:
- The Council will have a duty to meaningfully consult organised/constituted community groups and take account of recommendations.
- The Council will have a duty to take account of and respond to consultations held by the Council (e.g. planning) to restore the confidence of communities in them. It will include stating clearly in advance how the consultation results will be considered.
- The Council will have a duty to use a ballot for approving final version of large schemes such as regeneration.
Planning Application Committee (PAC) representation and transparency:
- The Council will allow public representation of organised/constituted community groups for large schemes/ level of responses.
- The Council will improve transparency of planning decisions by ensuring that records/videos of the PAC discussions are accessible on the Council website within the week following the meeting.
Local plan properly non-ambiguous and enforced:
- Community groups will be consulted ahead of Local plan reviews and the Council will take account of their recommendations when amending plans.
- The Council will have non-ambiguous policies and enforce them through planning decisions.
- The Council will ensure that local plan policies are not subverted and avoid breach of policy (such as with the “on balance ‘acceptable’” wording).
- The Council will give guidance on and power to call-in decisions that do not accord with the local plan.
In drafting those pledges/aspirations, we have consulted with resident associations, community groups and Societies in the borough.
We understand that the aims and objectives will need working out in further detail and we wish the Clapham Junction Action Group to be involved, along with the other amenity societies, in discussions about the details.