Coronation Sidings Approved as Committee yields

The proposed railway depot

Railroaded through: The proposed depot has been approved

After a marathon meeting, development was approved by 6 votes to 3. Those voting in favour were Cllrs Demirci, Peacock, Basu, Brabazon, Rice (all five labour) and Strang (Lib DemCrouch End). Those against were Cllrs Reid, Beacham and Butcher (all three LibDem).

Here are some comments from those who attended the Planning Sub Committee on the 12thSeptember 2011.

* I went to  last night's Planning Committee meeting concerning Coronation Sidings. The speeches from Robert Gorrie and Laura Leak (for the four residents associations most affected), in particular, were very good. One of the councillors obviously knew very little about Planning, but that did not stop him voting for the Application. However three Members voted against it, and although, predictably the application was approved, it was a fairly close-run thing.

* The Chair kept trying to shut Cllr Reid up - trying but not succeeding. Cllr Reid stood his ground and put up a good fight, but there were times he had to abide by the Chair. The Chair came across as favouring the Applicant; objections were ignored.

* It was a packed meeting and the New River people were very vocal. I am sure Uncle Joe would have been proud of the way that the Chair conducted the meeting. He allowed a lot of time for the Planning Officer and the Applicants but put some pressure on the Objectors (with their pitiful time-span) to get a move on.

* An emotional Union rep pleaded for the Application to go ahead - to create jobs, despite there being little chance of them being secured for local people.

* Network Rail played that old trick that the railway had been here for 150 years, meaning it was here before us and that we chose to live here - ignoring the fact that the application was a completely new development, not the continuation of something that has been here for generations.

* Whenever Objectors spoke time constraints were mentioned, but I cannot recall that happening when the Applicant, or their supporters, spoke.

* The final decision was to approve the scheme but there was a good turnout of objectors in the gallery and the spoken objections were robust. Cllr Robert Gorrie spoke well against, as did Cllr Stewart (Lab Noel Park). I wonder who Cllr Paul Strang thought he was representing? I doubt if many of his Crouch End constituents would thank him for his supportive stance.

* The planning officers appeared to feign a neutral stance but were in fact acting with Network Rail as if they were a favoured client. The written planning report gave some room to think there were grounds for refusal but these were underplayed in the presentations. With the exception of Cllr Reid, committee members were less than probing in their questions and seemed easily distracted to ask questions about better access for disabled at Hornsey Station, graffiti and fly-dumping.

* The offer of dazzling amounts of Section 106 money to offset the effects of development clearly impressed those who voted for development.

* Network Rail claimed there would be less noise and that it would be concealed behind the background noise. The noise aspect was strange because at the public meeting held at the Heartlands School, I recall Network Rail admitting there would be
MORE noise, and people in the audience saying that they should be trying to reduce, not increase , the noise. Someone, at one of the two meetings, is wrong.

* The decision was finally made at 10pm. I think they were rather hoping that most people would be ground down by boredom, but most stayed.

The meeting is viewable at
and starts at about 27 minutes in. Were you there and if so, do you agree. If not, have a listen to the webcast and let us know what you think?

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