For the third time, Hammersmith and Fulham Council has deferred a decision on the Imperial West Phase 2 application. First it was meant to be decided by their Planning Applications Committee in March, then June and then July 10th.
Twenty four hours before the committee was due to meet, the council sent an email to interested parties saying: ‘The decision to withdraw the Application has been taken in order to provide officers with an opportunity to clarify certain matters in the planning report, in particular the policy context in which the development proposals fall to be assessed. Such clarification will assist Members in their consideration of the Application’.
What this means is that the council’s planning officers are finally waking up to the legal questions that we have posed to them, over many months. These relate to the status of the new draft version of the White City OAPF as opposed to the version adopted by the council in 2004.
The 2011 draft version introduced the specious idea of 100m towers along Westway as a ‘gateway to London’. The 2004 version said (much more sensibly) that buildings north of the Westway should respect the neighbouring residential areas.
This ‘inconvenient truth’ has been resolutely ignored by Imperial’s consultants and LBHF planners. But the successful legal challenge by the Shepherds Bush Market traders, and the letter sent by our legal advisers Webster Dixon, have made the councillors on the Planning Applications Committee stop to wonder if they were about to make an unlawful decision. This can only be a good thing, if it offers hope that the massive over-development proposed in the Imperial West scheme gets a closer look.
The council says that the application will be back on the PAC agenda for July 25th. Given that the council has already had over 6 months to assess the scheme, it is not clear what is going to change between now and then. We wait to see the revised report and recommendation.
This very late deferral has meant that people planning to lobby at the Town Hall tomorrow July 10th now have no reason to go there. We have contacted all our 280 members. Sorry if you have had a wasted trip by the time that you read this, but it is really not our fault. The council needs to get its act together.