Mount pleasant: Legal bid to block controversial development

A street view of Mount Pleasant Circus

A street view of Mount Pleasant Circus - Credit: Archant

Islington and Camden councils unite to take on Boris backed scheme

Boris Johnson gave the scheme the green light in October

Boris Johnson gave the scheme the green light in October - Credit: Archant

A legal challenge was launched this morning to block the Boris Johnson backed development of Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant site.

Islington and Camden Councils have joined forces to make an application for a judicial review of the Mayor of London’s decision to grant planning permission for controversial scheme, in Farringdon Raod, Clerkenwell.

One of the grounds of challenge is that the Mayor failed in his duty to provide the maximum amount of affordable housing on the site.

The councils say he did not fulfil the requirements of policy and fair process when he assessed the scheme’s viability.

View of garden and high rise buildings at planned Royal Mail Mount Pleasant site

View of garden and high rise buildings at planned Royal Mail Mount Pleasant site - Credit: Archant

The Mayor of London granted planning permission for 681 homes on the site, one of the largest developments in central London, in October in the face of fierce local opposition form both boroughs.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “The Mayor of London’s decision last year was wrong – Mount Pleasant is a huge site where we could have built hundreds of genuinely-affordable homes.

“But instead of supporting local residents and the local councils, Boris Johnson handed the Royal Mail a huge windfall at the expense of affordable homes.

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“We believe his decision was not just wrong but also legally flawed – and so we have issued a judicial challenge of his decision to grant planning permission.”

Councillor Phil Jones, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, said: “Boris Johnson’s intervention has completely ignored the needs of Camden people – and goes against the usual democratic process where councils decide planning applications in their own area.

“He has handed the landowner a huge windfall in reducing the number of affordable homes the development should deliver – and we think he has acted unlawfully.”

Speaking at the Greater London Authority (GLA) hearing which gave the development the Green light in October, Mr Johnson said: “We have a big housing crisis in London and urgently need housing and affordable housing.

“I’ve been around the side and seen its potential and having heard all the submissions today I’m satisfied with the analysis that they [GLA officers] have presented in their reports.

“On the matter of affordable housing, the 98 affordable homes will be affordable homes. Lets be absolutely clear that the developer can’t go ahead unless it corresponds with the GLA framework.”

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