Boris Johnson should ‘make clear’ when he’ll declare a planning application “strategically important enough” to overrule local councillors according to Green Party AM Jenny Jones.
Jones made the call after the Mayor approved a planning application for the 63-storey Columbus Tower development despite councillors in Tower Hamlets refusing planning permission in August.
Under powers granted to the Mayor in April 2008, Johnson has the right to ‘call in’ any application that has been refused by a borough, for his own determination.
In a statement Johnson said he was “satisfied that all the major concerns have been addressed and I believe the application will not only strengthen the success story of the Isle of Dogs, but will be hugely beneficial to the whole of London.”
“As well as being suited to the Canary Wharf district with its distinctive tall buildings, the overall size of the development means that it will deliver a huge contribution to the cost of Crossrail, which is central to the continued success and prosperity of both Canary Wharf and the entire capital. Considerable sums will also be invested to bring lasting benefits to the local community and therefore I have no doubt that this development must be allowed to go ahead.”
Johnson’s decision follows a public hearing at City Hall on Wednesday.
City Hall officials say conditions attached to the application will see the developer contributing £4 million towards Crossrail and over £1 million towards affordable housing in the area. A further £2 million will be invested by the developer into the local community.
Jones said the Mayor, who has previously spoken out against interference in local decisions, should clarify his position.
“The Mayor said he would leave these decisions to boroughs, but with Crossrail money at stake he overruled Tower Hamlets council. If he has changed his mind about always respecting local democracy he needs to make his criteria clear. What makes a planning application strategically important enough for his views to trump those of local planning authorities?”