Labour Colindale councillors have written to Barnet Council's Chief Legal Advisor with concerns that this week's decision to allow a Paddy Power betting shop at the Edition development may be unlawful.
Wednesday night's Planning Committee (25 October) voted 6-5 to reject reasons to refuse the planning application, and therefore allow the betting shop to open. This was despite a vote at a previous Planning Committee meeting against the application. The application had been deferred to the 25 October meeting solely to decide the reasons for refusal.
Labour councillors believe the u-turn is unlawful as one Conservative member of the Planning Committee who attended and voted for the application on the 25 October was not present at the original meeting. That councillor had not therefore heard the full application, representations and debate.
Police were called to calm residents at the meeting who reacted with anger when the betting shop was allowed.
Around 150 residents objected to the betting shop application.
There is already a Paddy Power betting shop a few minutes walk away from the Edition on the A5.
Labour Colindale Councillor, Nagus Narenthira, said:
“If a planning decision is deferred to a future meeting the councillors who make the final decision must be the same councillors who heard the original application. This was not the case on Wednesday so the final decision may be unlawful and this needs to be investigated by the Council's Chief Legal Advisor.
"This is not the first time votes at Planning Committee have been overturned by a subsequent meeting - it happened last year in relation to the Council's application to build its offices in Colindale.
"There is something basically wrong with democracy in Tory-run Barnet Council. The community has lost faith in the Council - they are not 'Putting the Community First'".
- A link to the Planning Committee agenda and reports can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=703&MId=9166&Ver=4