A row has broken out over approved plans for a former Rotherhithe pub, after a ward councillor said her bid to have it heard by a full committee was unfairly dismissed.
As the News has previously reported, nearly 400 residents have signed a petition against plans for flats approved under delegated council officer powers for the former Clipper Pub in Rotherhithe Street.
Plans being considered by officers can be ‘called in’ and sent to committee if two ward councillors ask for it.
Cllr Jane Salmon, who represents Surrey Docks ward where the former boozer sits, told the News that she asked for the plans to be considered by a committee of councillors, but wasn’t told that a seconder would be needed.
“I got a phone call from the residents who said it’d gone through,” she said.
“I emailed the officer and said ‘I don’t understand, I thought I asked for it to go to committee?’
“He said that all of these requests have to have a seconder, but I said why didn’t you tell me?
“It’s just really not acceptable to me.”
Now Cllr Salmon says she has received an apology from the council’s planning department for allegedly not following best practice.
However, Cllr Johnson Situ, who holds the cabinet portfolio for planning, said all councillors are told that two of them are needed to call in planning decisions when elected.
“We recognise that some applications that are decided under delegated decision may be of concern to local residents and to ensure the local community have the opportunity to have their say, the planning process gives the local ward councillors the opportunity to request for planning applications to be heard at committee,” he said.
“For a ‘call in’ to take effect, two councillors have to make the request, this has been the case for many years and all councillors are informed of this fact when elected.
“To further support ward councillors, officers often remind members of the need for two councillors to make the request.
“In this case the second request didn’t follow Cllr Salmon’s original request for it to be heard by a committee.”
Now the decision has been approved, there is no mechanism for it to be withdrawn, Cllr Salmon told the News.
“Once it’s done, it’s a done deal,” she said.
A plan had been previously approved for a different scheme on the site, which those signing the petition state would have mirrored nearby warehouses and was “designed to contribute to and not damage the local heritage.”
But the petition dubs the revised scheme, which will see six two bed flats being created alongside a ground floor retail space and basement parking, an “eyesore”.
Full details of the plans can be found on the Southwark Council planning register under the reference ‘18/AP/3420’.