Feb 21 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
A BLOGGER has branded Brent Council as ‘farcical’ over a string of mishaps in relation to a controversial planning application.
Eagle-eyed Martin Francis, who runs the Wembley Matters blog and posts on the Keep Willesden Green blog, received an email notification on Thursday last week saying the council had approved the Willesden Green Cultural Centre development.
However, the application was yet to be considered by the planning committee after it had been pulled from the agenda of a meeting held on the previous evening (Wednesday, February 13), due to human error in the planning department.
Mr Francis told the Observer: “I was amazed when I got the message that the planning committee would have the audacity to consider the application after announcing the item’s deferral.
“I rang democratic services at 9am and they said the announcement was a mistake and had been withdrawn.”
On the blog, Mr Francis branded the process as going from ‘fiasco to farce’.
A Brent Council spokesman said: “An administrative error occurred which meant the website said the decision had been approved when it had not.
“This was a simple mistake which Brent Council quickly corrected. The planning application will now be heard on February 21.”
The application, which has been opposed by some Willesden residents, is to demolish part of the library building, retaining the Victorian period building, and build a cultural centre with library, gallery, community space, cafe and nine blocks of flats.
The reason given by Brent Council for the application being withdrawn from last week’s meeting was ‘to ensure that sufficient time has been allowed for the consultation period following a legal clarification’.
It is believed this refers to the consultation period ending on Thursday last week, one day after the meeting was due to take place.
The Observer contacted the council about this point on January 22 and received this response: “The planning committee will be asked on February 13 to decide if they resolve to support the proposal and, if they do, they will be asked to delegate consideration of any subsequent representations received within the consultation period to nominated officers, this will include any that are received on February 14, before the applications are referred to the SoS and London Major.”