OPEN LETTER TO THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL
Dear Members of the Court of Common Council,
As the Chairs of the City’s three largest residents’ associations, we urge you to heed this petition, signed by more than 1,250 people including many of our members and other City residents, that will be presented at your meeting tomorrow: http://chng.it/Y8H6M7DsHf.
The City Corporation’s relationship with much of its residential electorate has not been improved by a planning process where business interests continuously trump residential. Failure to heed this petition would put residents at a further disadvantage and be likely to widen and deepen discontent among residents, without whom the City Corporation would not exist as a local authority.
Chair, Barbican Association
Chair, Golden Lane Estate Residents’ Association
Chair, Middlesex Street Estate Residents’ Association
On 14 April 2021, Councillor Mark Bostock forwarded to all members of the Court of Common Council a joint letter (below) from the chairs of the City’s three largest residents’ associations regarding a petition about the City’s planning process: http://chng.it/Y8H6M7DsHf.
On 15 April, Councillor Bostock formally presented that petition to the Court.
In the Court meeting, a member asked:
“Can I ask the member, given that he's a member of one the largest residential wards in the City, what does believe will happen if the Corporation rejects or completely ignores this petition?”
Councillor Bostock replied:
“If the Corporation does not heed the petition, we will see more action on the part of residents, as we saw with standards reform and defeating the proposed expansion of a City school in the Barbican.
Since the Corporation only has the status of a public authority because it has residents, I think the Corporation’s leadership would be well advised to stop acting against them.”
Another member suggested that the objection to planning applications being decided by small panels (instead of by the full Planning Committee as at present) was not an objection in principle, but one concerning the composition of the panels.
Councillor Bostock replied:
"All those who have signed the petition have declared that they oppose the introduction of panels 'to avoid corroding democratic accountability’...
The petition says, 'democratic accountability is already weak within the Corporation'. This is due to the anomaly of the business vote which does not exist in other local authorities. So to propose some kind of compromise regarding the detailed composition of these unwanted panels misses the point and would still compromise democratic accountability. Our electorate do not want that.
I would remind members that panels are the subject of only one of three points in the petition. The other two relate to the perception of bias that is embedded in our planning process. There is no reason for our electorate to accept or compromise on that either.”
The petition, which has 1,270 signatures, will now be considered by each of the governing Policy and Resources Committee and the Planning Committee. In the meantime, it remains open for further signatures from City residents, City workers and anyone interested in preserving the City’s heritage: http://chng.it/Y8H6M7DsHf .