Secretary of State confirms plans will not be called in
As stated earlier this week the Secretary of State’s decision to place the Riverside House and Covent Garden applications on ‘indefinite hold’ was not a significant development as the Council had already complied with the Government’s request to voluntarily not issue planning consent until a decision on their call-in request was made. It was misleading for this to be construed as anything other than the first formal step in the call-in process and therefore the decision not to call-in the planning applications for both sites is not a ‘U-Turn’.
The call-in process explained
When a request to call a planning application in has been received by the Secretary of State, usually an Article 31 direction is issued, placing the applications in question on indefinite hold until a decision can be made as to whether or not they will be called in. The applications were placed on hold, and now the Secretary of State has decided not to call the plans in, so consent can be given.
The Council were aware of this process and had complied with the Secretary of State from the outset. The details of the planning applications were supplied to the Secretary of State in order for him to make a decision; the call-in process and decision making process is a statutory one within the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and so is outside of party politics. Lobbying is therefore not part of that process.
We understand the concerns of the local community and of local businesses and are concerned that all of the actual facts have not been conveyed to the public and businesses at large but have rather been fuelled by misinformation. Consequently, we will be arranging an exhibition in the near future so the public and businesses can receive a better balanced set of facts, all of which will underline the significant benefits to the community at large while also saving the taxpayer £3 million over the next ten years, We will listen to the issues raised by businesses and the local community.