Why Greenwich is different from other London boroughs
Local residents in East Greenwich have for some time been concerned about some of the Greenwich planning board's decisions and the way they are being made. Approval of the cruise terminal plans has sparked fresh concerns and follows on from the controversial IKEA decision and waterfront residential developments where we feel the community's views and fundamental issues were completely ignored.
New research conducted by East Greenwich Residents Association has shown that Greenwich is the only London borough with its political leader on the planning board. This is a practice that has gone on for some time in Greenwich as its previous leader Chris Roberts also sat on the planning board.
The new administration continues this practice with the Council's leader and its cabinet member for regeneration both present and vocal on planning decisions. All three ward councillors from the leader's ward in Abbey Wood also sit on the Board. No ward councillors from the Peninsula has a seat despite the intense development in our part of the borough.
Decisions on the planning board are regulated by statute and should be made according to planning guidelines and in the wider public interest, but not according to party lines or political persuasion. Presumably this is why no other London borough has the leader on its planning board.
Greenwich is undergoing rapid transformation. The Peninsula is the site for the biggest regeneration project in Europe and we estimate that Greenwich Borough has already approved some £6 billion worth of projects in our ward. It is now making decisions on projects that will affect London as a city with the cruise liner terminal.
Whilst we welcome the new chair and members on the planning board, we need to have confidence that our borough is making the right decisions for the right reasons and operating in the same way as other London boroughs.
We have written to Greenwich asking for the leader of the Council to stand down from the planning board.