Council 'failing to listen' on Prestolite plans

Residents concerned over size of the development says Lib Dem

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Liberal Democrats have slammed Hammersmith and Fulham Council for failing to ensure residents could attend the important Planning Committee Meeting that would decide the fate of the Prestolite site on Larden Road.

Lib Dem representatives were amongst the many residents who were unable to attend the Planning Committee meeting 14 July. Residents are concerned over the very high densities and very large size of the proposed development. Over 190 people responded to the planning application yet the meeting was held in room with a capacity of barely 50. Liberal
Democrats believe the Council should have anticipated a large crowd and arranged a suitable meeting space.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Jon Burden said: "This is not the first time residents have been excluded from important meetings due to insufficient room. Labour talks about engaging with
voters, listening and inclusiveness. But when residents actually show-up, Labour seem incapable of dealing with them."

The Lib Dems believe the proposed development could be beneficial to the area and help ease the housing crisis faced by many in the borough. Failure by Labour to communicate this has caused a groundswell of opposition.

Jon Burden adds: "Residents have legitimate fears about the density and scale of the
development. However, good quality design can overcome residents' concerns. Low cost social housing is necessary to accommodate essential workers such as nurses, teachers and emergency workers. It need not become a sink estate. The planning application explains the many benefits, but in a complex legal format that can be intimidating. If the Council is going to win over residents, it must do far more to explain this to residents."

June 14, 2004