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Boris approves luxury flats plan at Royal Mail's Mount Pleasant sorting office in Clerkenwell

PUBLISHED: 15:39 03 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:39 03 October 2014

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

2013 Getty Images

Boris Johnson has approved plans for 700 homes in Clerkenwell despite objections from Islington and Camden councils and hundreds of residents.

Boris Johnson has approved plans for 700 homes in Clerkenwell despite objections from Islington and Camden councils and hundreds of residents.

The mayor gave the green light to the Royal Mail’s controversial plans for its Mount Pleasant sorting office in Farringdon Road at a GLA public hearing this afternoon after two hours of representations from interested parties at City Hall.

The plans will see the majority of the site turned in to luxury flats, with only 20 per cent “affordable housing” and just 98 homes at true social rates.

Despite being told that the scheme fell well short in terms of affordable housing, that it did not represent the best value for money, and that several aspects of the design breached planning guidelines – Boris gave the go-ahead, siting the urgent need to provide more homes in London.

He did however encouraged the Mount Pleasant Association (MPA), whose alternative scheme the Mayor described as “beautiful”, to continue towards putting forward a rival planning application for the site.

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.”

The Mayor called the decision regarding mount pleasant in nine months ago at the request of the Royal Mail, before Islington and Camden councils had chance to reject it.

The Royal Mail moved their affordable housing

Addressing to the Mayor at the hearing – Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “We know that 20 per cent affordable housing in no way represents the maximum that can be provided.

“With the seperate delivery of the Islington and Camden parts of the sheme, We could see a situation where the Camden side [which has a lower rate of affordaable housing] is built and the Islington site stays empty for years.

“We can’t assure that local people will not be looking at a concrete home for years to come.”

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