To receive declarations by members and officers of the existence and nature of any personal or prejudicial interests in matters on this agenda.
2.1 Councillor Davis declared that any members of the Majority Party who had or would make representations on the applications on the agenda were his friends. He also advised that in his capacity as Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning it was inevitable and part of his role that he gets to know, meet and talk to leading members of the planning and property industry including landowners and developers and their professional teams such as architects, surveyors, planning consultants, lawyers and public affairs advisers as well as residents, residents associations and amenity groups. It was his practice to make such declarations. He stated that it did not mean that they were his personal friends or that he had a pecuniary interest but that he had worked with them in his capacity as Cabinet Member for Planning.
2.2 He also explained that all four Members of the Committee were provided a week before the meeting with a full set of papers including a detailed officer’s report on each application together with bundles of every single letter or e-mail received in respect of every application including all letters and e-mails containing objections or giving support. Members of the Committee read through everything in detail prior to the meeting - often taking a whole day over the weekend to do so.
2.3 Accordingly, if an issue or comment made by a correspondent was not specifically mentioned at the meeting in the officers presentation or by Members of the Committee, because of the need to get through a long agenda, it does not mean that Members have ignored the issue as they will have read about it and comments made by correspondents in the papers read prior to the meeting.
2.4 Councillor Davis also declared that in his capacity as the Cabinet Member for the Built Environment with specific responsibility for planning he regularly met with developers as part of the City Council’s pre-application engagement with applicants. This was wholly in accordance with normal protocols and the terms set out in the Localism Act 2011 and as amplified in the Communities and Local Government Guidance document “A Plain English Guide to the Localism Act”.
2.5 The meetings held with applicants and in some case objectors too are without prejudice and all parties are advised that a final formal decision is only taken when all the facts are before him and his Committee through the normal planning application process.
2.6 He also stated that in his capacity as Cabinet Member he knew a number of Planning Consultants in Westminster, some of whom were representing the applicants on a number of items on the agenda, including Four Communications, Gerald Eve, Belgrave, GVA and Savills.
2.7 Councillor Davis made the following further declarations as they related to the specific applications on the agenda:
Item 3 – That he has had meetings with the
applicants and knows the
Directors of Capco and has received hospitality from them over the
years as a leading developer in the city. That he also knows their
representatives, Gerald Eve and has received hospitality from them
also. That he also knows the Directors of Four Communications and
the architects KPF.
Item 4 – That he
has had meetings with the applicants before the original
application came before the committee. That he has attended a site
visit a week ago. That he knows the architects, their
representatives Four Communications and some of the objectors.
Item 5 – That he
knows the applicant and has eaten at the restaurant as
someone’s guest. That he knows the applicant’s agents GVA, the
architect Michael Blair and that the property, but not the application,
has come to the committee previously.
Item 6 – That he has met with the applicants and knows the architects.
Item 7 – Is in his ward.
Item 8 – Is in
his ward and that the property, not the application, has come
before the committee previously.
2.8 Councillor Tim Mitchell declared that any members of the Majority Party who had or would make representations on the applications on the agenda were his friends. He also advised that in his capacity as a Ward Councillor for St James’s he had regular contact with landowners, developers and their agents on proposals which included some of the developers who had applications on the Committee’s agenda including Gerald Eve, Four Communications, Savills and Belgrave.
2.9 Councillor Mitchell made the following further declarations as they related to the specific applications on the agenda:
Item 3 – Is in his ward and that he knows the
directors of Capco. That he has
also received representations from local residents. That he knows
the trustees of the Covent Garden Community Association.
Item 4 – That he attended a site visit.
Item 5 – That he has sat on previous committees
that considered this
application and two of the donor sites.
Item 8 – That he has sat on previous committees
that considered this
2.10 Councillor Susie Burbridge declared that any members of the Majority Party who had or would make representations on the applications on the agenda were her friends. She declared that she is deputy Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Economic Growth. She further declared that she had met many of the developers and architects involved with applications on the agenda in her capacity as a councillor.
2.11 Councillor Burbridge made the following further declarations as they related to the specific applications on the agenda:
Item 6 – Is in her ward.
Item 8 – Is in her ward and that she has attended a
2.12 Councillor Boothroyd declared that he is Head of Research and Psephology for Thorncliffe, whose clients are companies applying for planning permission from various local authorities. He advised that no current clients are in Westminster; if there were he would be precluded from working on them under the company’s code of conduct.
2.13 Councillor Boothroyd delclared that Thorncliffe clients have hired planning consultants who are also representing applicants tonight: Gerald Eve on item 3, Savills on item 4, GVA on item 5, and CgMs on item 6 but that he does not deal directly with clients or other members of project teams, and there is no financial link between the planning consultants and his employers.
2.14 That several people who have sent representations on item 4, and in particular Karen Buck MP, are his friends.
2.15 That he was a member of a previous committee deciding applications relevant to items 4, 5, 6 and 8.