Search

Boris bypasses Islington Council with ‘outrageous’ Royal Mail call-in

12:34 22 January 2014

London Mayor Boris Johnson (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

London Mayor Boris Johnson (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Boris Johnson has bypassed the town hall by calling in plans to build nearly 700 homes at the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant site.

The Mayor of London made his ruling yesterday (January 21) after the newly-privatised company asked him to step in over the future of London’s largest building site – in Farringdon Road.

Campaigners against the project, which will provide only 12 per cent affordable housing, were outraged by the Mayor’s decision and 
Islington Council leader Cllr Richard Watts called the move “premature and unjustified” and executive member for housing and development Cllr James Murray branded Boris “outrageous”.

The Mayor’s office said the decision was made to speed up the process, but estimated Johnson would not be making a decision until the summer, while the plans were due to go before Camden and Islington councils in February and March respectively.

Cllr Watts said, “We are extremely disappointed to hear that the Mayor has decided to take away local decision making from local areas.

“There are no justifiable reasons for calling in the proposals and the decision is premature and unjustified.

“We are firmly committed to encouraging, enabling and supporting the proper development of the site but the current offer of just 12pc 
affordable housing is just not good enough.”

But Boris said that the homes were needed now. “London is growing at an unprecedented rate and it is vital that we get on with the important work of building thousands of new homes as quickly as we can,” he said.

“By taking over this application it should be possible to speed up the decision making process.

“My team will be working closely with the local authorities and Royal Mail without further delay.”

The Mount Pleasant Forum, a group that represents the communities living close to the site, issued a two-minute video pleading with the Mayor not to call the decision in.

They say the fact that the site is surrounded by five conservation areas and established communities means the Royal Mail’s plans for high-rise housing would be a “disaster”.

Edward Denison, speaking on behalf of the forum, said: “He’s going to pass it. This is a strategic plan from the Royal Mail, and to add insult to injury, it has reduced affordable housing from 20pc to 12pc because it knew it won’t make a difference now.

“There is no way the Mayor would have called it in otherwise. Royal Mail knew the councils would’ve turned it down.”

The company made the request under Article 7 of the Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008, which states that the Mayor can step in on developments that “have a significant impact on the implementation of the spatial development strategy”.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “The redevelopment will help regenerate the local neighbourhoods, creating new public spaces and offering up to 680 new homes, including affordable housing.

“It will also provide 1,250 new jobs in the wider economy if it gets the go-ahead.”

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 16:08
First time buyers in Islington will need to earn 10 times the average local salary

Islington is one of the least affordable places in the UK to buy a first home.

Yesterday, 13:49
Some of the heroin found in the bust that saw Canonbury man Yasar Ozekmecki jailed for 10 years. Picture: National Crime Agency

A Canonbury member of an organised crime gang has been jailed for 10 years.

Yesterday, 11:07
HMP Pentonville in Caledonian Road (Picture: PA Wire/Anthony Devlin)

Explosive claims that drones laden with “legal highs” are being flown to Pentonville inmates, who collapse in the grounds after taking them, are made in a report this morning.

Yesterday, 07:00
More pupils were suspended for racist abuse in Islington than anywhere else in central London. Picture: PA

More Islington children were kicked out of school for racist abuse than anywhere else in inner London last year, a new league table of shame reveals.

Wed, 15:32
Collins' Music Hall in Islington Green... now Waterstone's bookshop. Picture: Nick Charlesworth

We all love Sadler’s Wells. But did you know Islington used to boast many others on the same scale? James Morris finds our borough has an extraordinary theatre heritage.

Wed, 12:42
Former London Metropolitan University building Ladbroke House in Islington

Mystery surrounds controversial plans for a new secondary free school in Highbury.

Wed, 12:10
Boris Johnson outside his home in Islington earlier this year. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Over 300 anarchists are expected to march on Boris Johnson’s central Islington home next Friday night.

Wed, 08:05
The Angel Comedy Club gang - Dec Munro, Sarah Pearce, Rachel Warnes and Barry Ferns

What do you get if you cross a comedy club’s pleas for funding with 1,000 passionate supporters? £46,000 and a new pub.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now