Source: London Assembly
The Mayor has the power to ‘call in’ planning applications that are of ‘potential strategic importance’ to London. The way the Mayor’s office reviews and decides on planning applications has not changed since the previous administration.
The London Assembly Planning Committee has made recommendations on how the process can be improved, including:
• The Mayor should disclose the identities of anyone that has lobbied for and against a call-in, including any informal requests
• For all outstanding and future call-ins, the Mayor must be clearer on how the three specific threshold policy tests for call-in have been applied
Chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee, Andrew Boff AM said:
“The Committee met with industry experts, who have first-hand experience in dealing with planning applications that have been ‘called in’ by the Mayor, to hear their views on the current structure and what needs to change.
“Their information made it clear to us that there is a need to reform how the Mayor deals with planning applications in London. That’s why we’re recommending a review to assess if the current Mayoral planning process is still fit for purpose.
“Approved planning applications can have a huge impact on the landscape of communities, areas and Boroughs in London. That is why the decision on whether to grant planning permission or not, needs to be made on the basis of what’s best for London and the Londoners living in the area in question.
“We have also called for the Mayor to confirm and publicise that he will no longer accept requests for ‘call ins’ from an individual planning applicant. Applicants who go straight to the Mayor, raise suspicions that they are attempting to by-pass their local authority to obtain planning permission and this is not acceptable.
“Another area of concern for us is that there is currently no opportunity for the applicant or other parties, such as community groups, to engage with the Mayor when he is conducting a visit to the planning site. Community voices representing Londoners are not being heard and we want the Mayor to review this so they have a say when it comes to open planning applications in their areas.
“Planning applications shape the future of London for generations to come and the London Assembly Planning Committee wants to ensure that the Mayor is making the right decisions on what’s best for London both now and in the future.”