Labour councillors have just learned of a secret plan to rush through the controversial planning application for the Pioneer Ark Academy at Underhill Stadium in 7 days time.
Underhill Councillor, Paul Edwards, read that the application would be heard at the 25 October Planning committee in a general news email to residents that he had subscribed to. Cllr Edwards had not received any formal notice of this despite being an objector to the application and having requested to speak at the future hearing.
Cllr Edwards said:
"At 10.30pm on Tuesday 17 October I received an " New Items of Interest from your local council" available to all residents who sign up to this link with Barnet Council. It advised me that the Planning Application, submitted by the Ark Academy chain to build a 1200 place secondary school on the Underhill site will be put before the planning committee on 25 October 2017.
"In effect this is 8 days notice for a planning application that has a record number of objections and a large number of people requesting the right to address this committee. I am one of them. I have not received any formal notice of this, either as a local councillor for the ward where I am an elected councillor, nor as someone who has requested to speak. This is one of the most controversial planning applications to be put before Barnet Council's planning committee. The Conservatives should show more respect to its local council tax payers than simply trying to rush this decision through in the hope that no one will notice.
I am, therefore calling on the Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Melvin Cohen, to instruct officers to reschedule this item to the next planning committee due on 23 November so as to give all stakeholders a serious opportunity to attend the meeting and to be able to speak if they have requested to do so."