PLANNING officers were having a tough time tonight when I popped in for an hour to eyeball the post-election committee for the first time. Their recommendations were being ignored. A new summer house planned for a garden in Belsize Park was spiked after a councillor vote, while noisy roller shutters were given the ko in Saffron Hill. A mix of new faces and a couple of experienced hands were getting stuck in, refusing to bow to that omnipresent threat of their decisions being challenged at a planning inquiry, words which always come with the prefix ‘costly’.
Note too, the man in the chair’s seat. New councillor Thomas Neumark with just one development control meeting under his belt. A daunting job, he seemed to be confident about filling in for the unwell Dave Horan. He certainly had avoided any clashes with angry developers by the time I knocked it on the head at 8ish. Maybe the harder task in the coming months will be tempering the enthusiastic and rebellious planning councillors who rightly won’t have their minds made up simply on officer say-so.