Camden’s Culture & Environment Scrutiny Committee last night voted to overturn the administration’s decision to allocate £3m to scope out a site in Camley Street for development – despite the opposition of local residents.
I formally challenged the decision through a ‘call in’, which is the only way that such a decision can be blocked under the (somewhat anti-democratic) ‘strong Leader and Cabinet’ model. And for the first time since Labour took charge of the borough in 2010, the committee agreed to overturn the decision!
I’m hugely grateful to the Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum and Camley Street residents and businesses for helping to challenge the decision. They have put thousands of hours of work into developing a Neighbourhood Plan, which the decision would have run rough-shod over.
The Neighbourhood Plan is due to be adopted early next year, so my ask was simple: don’t spend any taxpayers’ money on anything that might contradict or jeopardise the Plan, which means the project shouldn’t go ahead until the Plan is adopted and has the full weight of law. I’m delighted that the committee agreed with my argument and granted my request.
This should serve as a lesson to Labour not to try to tread on residents anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s in our own wards or elsewhere: the Conservatives will stand up for residents and communities anywhere in Camden.