For many residents of Thamesfield, planning has been the most contentious issue for some time. Following hot on the heels of the Putney Garden Centre debacle has come a development near Putney Common.

After many letters of objection from residents whose houses backed on to the proposed development, and some intense lobbying, the Committee decided late last week to postpone a decision on the application so that further views could be taken into account.


The residents, apart from having serious objections on many grounds to the specific development, and concerns about previous applications on the site, complained to me about the consultation process for local residents. They had been told different things by different people, and felt excluded from, not included in the consultation.

London is such a built-up city that we all feel rather hemmed in. But everyone has a right to object to proposed building developments that are unneighbourly. The planning consultation system is a way of making your views known on the built environment of your own neighbourhood and contested planning applications are a sign of a vibrant local community. The problem is of course that a local planning authority can ride roughshod over the clearly expressed wishes of the local community, as Wandsworth did in the case of Putney Garden Centre. When a Council becomes so over-weeningly arrogant, the only remedy for residents lies in the ballot box.

For information - The planning system is under review at present and a consultation paper has been issued which proposes some major changes. To have a look, or submit some comments, log on to http://www.planning.dtlr.gov.uk/ and follow the links.

Two weeks ago I referred to Wandsworth Council's Freedom Pass Scheme and the unfairness of taking these passes from residents who had previously been entitled to them. As it happens, I have been approached again this week by a constituent whose pass was taken away from him two years ago. After my intervention then, his pass was restored. Now, two years later, he has had his freedom pass taken away from him again. This man suffers from degenerative illnesses that impair his mobility. He is in his sixties. If he was considered disabled enough to qualify for a pass two years ago it beggars belief that he is now fit enough to do without. For this constituent, Cllr Lister's "brighter borough" has a very dark side indeed.

Please contact me for any further information about local government finance or any other issues. If you want to write to me, Tony Colman MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. I have a small website hosted by www.epolitix.com - if you log on, click on 'webminster', and then search for Putney.

I am setting up a website at the moment, and will publicise it as widely as possible in the next few months. I am actively looking for a company to help me set it up, host, maintain and update it, so if you know of someone, please do let me know.

Tony Colman MP

12th March 2004

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First Putneysw15.com Diary Entry 8.11.2001

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