** for the decision of the planning committee click here**
The infamous Planning Committee of H&F Council is meeting tonight, and on their agenda is this little contentious item. 282 Goldhawk Road is at the moment a leafy green conservation area, and the locals want to keep it that way. The Council's friendly developers however, see pound signs and want to build a high density local housing block there instead.
Locals have organised a 300+ petition against the scheme and will be there in force this evening. And unlike the residents who eventually overturned the Council on this ruling by getting the decision called in by the Secretary of State this lot are getting political. Someone closely connected to the campaign wrote to me recently to warn Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey stood to lose an awful lot of votes from the good residents of Goldhawk Road if the Council went ahead and stayed true to form by ignoring residents in favour of developers.
That would be in addition to the votes the Conservatives have doubtless lost over the Goldhawk Block decision and other planning decisions recently.
I understand that Shaun is privately furious with the leadership of the Council for having managed to damage his campaign in these ways, he even issued a statement describing his disappointment with the council over the Goldhawk Block fiasco. I understand one local signatory to the 300+ petition is actually a Conservative MP.
Labour on the other hand have managed to exploit these situations to their own and local residents' advantage, including by sending the letter that put a halt to the Goldhawk Block redevelopment, which was done by Cllr Michael Cartwright. In so doing they have doubtless earned the support of people that the Tories have lost as a result of these decisions, and this is likely to be translated into support for Andy Slaughter, our current Labour MP.
Our constituency is on a knife edge and every vote will genuinely count at the next election - will the Council put the boot in again to Shaun's campaign by approving the planning application this evening?