Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Council Planners Recommend Refusal of Mosque Application

Sutton Council officers in the planning department have recommended that the second application to turn the Old Bank Chambers in Green Lane into a Mosque be refused. The application is set to be heard by the Council’s Development Control Committee tomorrow evening (25th September) at 8pm.

The Summary of why the application proposals have been considered unacceptable are:

  • In land use terms, it is considered that the applicant has provided sufficient evidence to justify the loss of the existing office use within the site and has also demonstrated that there is a need within the local area for a mosque, this application has not been able to demonstrate that the site is suitable for the proposed use of this scale without resulting in an adverse impact of the proposal on the local highway network.
  • Although the applicant has made submissions to the contrary, the applicant does not, in light of the relevant planning history, made a persuasive case that there would be adequate safeguards to ensure that the number of worshippers at peak times will not result in demonstrable harm to highway safety in surrounding streets due to the likely increase in on-street parking at peak times in a manner that would be detrimental to the local highway network and cause danger and inconvenience to all users of the public highway.
You can see the full report here.

In total 660 letters of objection were received by Sutton’s planners, 630 of those being from people in Worcester Park. By contrast only 6 letters of support were received or which only 3 were from Worcester Park. Additionally, 3873 people signed petitions objecting to the application. There were no petitions supporting it.

The Development Control Committee, made up of a majority of eight Liberal Democrats (who have been very quiet on this issue) and two Conservatives could still ignore the recommendation and allow the development to go ahead. However the recommendation makes it much more likely that the application will be turned down.

Many readers will recall the packed meeting at Cheam High School on 3rd December last year when the original application was turned down. This decision has been appealed by the applicant. The appeal will be heard on the 26th November at 10am at Strawberry Lodge in Carshalton.

No doubt most Worcester Parkers will be hoping for a similar outcome tomorrow night to last December’s decision.

4 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Stewart Consv Mackay said...

The people of Worcester Park have spoken very loud and clear. It would be suicidal for the council to anything other go with the recommendation.

guest D said...

Your absolutely right on this one, the government says ...

10.4 If the planning committee makes a decision contrary to the officers‘ recommendation (whether for approval or refusal), a detailed minute of the committee‘s reasons should be made and a copy placed on the application file. Thus, members should be prepared to explain in full their reasons for not agreeing with the officer‘s recommendation. In so doing, members should observe the ‗Wednesbury principle‘ (the case of Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1 K.B. 223) which, put simply, requires all relevant information (ie material considerations) to be taken into account and all irrelevant information (ie non-material matters) to be ignored. The officer should also be given an opportunity to explain the implications of the contrary decision.
10.5 The courts have expressed the view that the committee‘s reasons should be clear and convincing. The personal circumstances of an applicant, or any other material or non-material considerations which might cause local controversy, will rarely provide such grounds. A notable exception is where planning policy allows for this, for example, the provision of a dwelling for an agricultural worker.

It also suggests that the the main reason for rejecting the advice is where local feeling is running contrary to the planning officers advice.

289 Councillors themselves may be influenced by feelings which do not derive from dispassionate examination of the planning issues. They may see themselves as leaders of local opinion rather than as judges, and they may even have been elected on a specific platform of opposing or supporting a particular development or type of development. In our view, if planning decisions by local authorities were to be regarded as quasi-legal decisions, in which councillors played a role similar to that of inquiry inspectors or judges, there would be no point in involving councillors in such decisions. They might as well be taken by planning officers, or by inspectors.

So as local feeling is against a Mosque, there is really only one decision they can take. As you say political suicide to do anything else.

guest said...

For once I agree with Mr. Consv-Mackay. Any Councillor who votes contrary to the recommendations of The Planning Officers would need to 'consider their position' and could expect to 'spend more time with their family' after the next local elections.

lisa said...

There are various reasons of refusal of planning applications and here the case is of public security as well. It is very necessary that the whole plan should be made in an understandable manner covering all the necessary points. When I had made an application for my home I consulted Speerdade-planning consultants in UK. The reason why to consult such experts is that they know the right way to make documents and plan and apart from this they are also known to other possible options or alternatives. All the people in the nearby area were not in favour of the plan, so it is also one of the thing that needs consideration.

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