Community / Neighbourhood / Nimby Groups & the Planning Process”
This follows from another discussion regarding the Clapton (Palace) Pavilion / Ethiopian Church, but rather than hijacking the thread I’ve started this one to deal specifically with the role of local “community” “neighbourhood” “Nimby” groups (however one wishes to characterise them) and their role in the planning process. Personally I find some of their actions troubling in so much as; a) I’m not sure how representative they are of the local populace (I suspect not very). b) They sometimes portray themselves as being able to speak on behalf of the local populace as a whole eg “Clapton Pond says No to Tesco” kind of thing. c) The involvement of local councillors in them. Their job as I see it is to represent residents concerns not to join or even run pro-active campaigning groups that are divisive in the community. d) More subjectively there does seem to me to be an air of assumed cultural superiority in the expression of their judgements as if a conservative heritage approach is the only option and anyone who opposes it is evil. Someone on the other thread pertaining to the new Ethiopian Church suggested there was “dodgy business” going on. I’ve no idea whether that’s true but I find it easy to see how some events can give that impression. I remember in the case of the proposal for the former toilets on Millfields Rd (which Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group opposes) the planning department sent me a letter stating that the proposal was to be put to the planning committee with the recommendation that permission be granted. Then it was withdrawn – for no explicable reason – and has sat on the shelf ever since. I seem to remember that at the same time the neighbouring Pond House proposal with its pastiche/derivative terrace was also withdrawn from a hearing and then later approved even though it went against the council’s stated design aspirations as expressed by its Head of Conservation Urban Design and Sustainability. The Millfields Rd proposal still sits awaiting a decision almost 18 months after it was submitted even though it is in line with the statement of design aspiration from the Head of Conservation Urban Design and Sustainability. I think this looks dodgy.