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logoThe Chair of the Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) has written to Haringey Council's cabinet member for planning policy to complain about suppression and misrepresentation of evidence which contradicts the Council's policy of classifying woodland at Pinkham Way as suitable for employment use.

In his letter dated 5th November 2015 Stephen Brice writes that the PWA has come to the view that its evidence "is so inconvenient for the Council that there has been a systematic attempt to bury it".

The criticism refers to the preparation of documentation and advice ahead of a meeting of Haringey's Cabinet on 20th October.  The Cabinet discussed and approved various local plan documents, including the Site Allocations DPD (Development Plan Document), a document listing sites within the borough which are considered suitable for building housing or infrastructure for employment.

The Pinkham Way Alliance has been campaigning for Pinkham Way, which is a SINC (site for nature conservation), to be no longer classified as an Employment Site.

In support of its case the PWA submitted a 29-page document with copious evidence that Pinkham Way is unsuitable for use as an employment site.  However, the briefing papers prepared for the Cabinet meeting dismiss the PWA case in a few lines, without including any supporting evidence for or against for the Cabinet members to consider:

6.164 Pinkham Way Alliance feel that SA52 (Pinkham Way) is not suitable for employment use. The existing designations, both employment and SINC, are considered to continue on the basis there is a continuing need for employment spaces in the borough. Any development would be required to consider the SINC designation as well. The evidence the group submitted on the biodiversity present on the site is not sufficient to demonstrate that employment couldn‟t coexist on the site. Flood risk and culverted watercourse were also reasons suggested for why the site is unsuitable for development. Any proposed development would require a flood risk assessment to demonstrate no adverse impact in flood risk while the impact upon the watercourse is already covered by the policy.

6.165  There is specific opposition to the use of the site for waste, which is noted by council and the allocation does not specify this is the use that will be on site. Respondents were also concerned about views from Friern Barnet Bridge Park to Alexandra Paces being disrupted. Any development would require an impact assessment on long distance views to be undertaken.

The letter also complains that though 1154 members of the public requested that the PWA submission be regarded as coming from all of them (in accordance with precedence), the Cabinet meeting paperwork referred to a "petition" with 1154 signatures.

Full text of the letter from Stephen Brice, Chair of the Pinkham Way Alliance

5th November

Dear Councillor Demirci,

Cabinet Meeting - 20 October 2015

I write to you first as one of your constituents, and second, as Chair of the Pinkham Way Alliance. Among our members are hundreds more Bounds Green constituents, who, like me, are entitled to expect you to represent their interests and opinions honestly. Many of them would have been among the 1154 people who signed their names in support of the PWA submission to the Council's Site Allocations consultation earlier this year.

I was thus astounded to hear you say at the Cabinet meeting on 20 October that among the petitions received was one from Pinkham Way Alliance with 1154 signatures.

The Pinkham Way Alliance has never sent a petition to Haringey. As you know we have always sent detailed submissions, in this case 26 pages of comment and analysis of the Council's published planning policies and evidence, together with substantial supporting evidence and attachments.

As you will also know, the arrangement by which PWA supporters can sign their names to a central submission with no loss of value was established on the instructions of the Local Plan Inspector in October 2011 and has been in operation ever since. If the Council now wishes our supporters to send in separate submissions we can arrange that for the future. Please let me know.

In spite of this large number of submissions, reflecting the community's long-established, well-informed concern about this site, reference to the PWA submission was omitted from the list of submissions on page 86 of the Cabinet Report. Your comment that "a petition" had been received did nothing to remedy that omission.

Members would have had to search out Appendix F, via a separate web link, to find any reference to the size of the response on Pinkham Way. Even then it was misrepresented.

I would also point out that there was no reference in the Cabinet Report to the GVA viability study on Pinkham Way, which gave rise to further extensive submissions by PWA. As you know, that study had been suppressed and only came to light after a FOI request. Our challenge to this viability evidence should have been taken into account and made public as part of the consultation responses.

We have come to the view that PWA's evidence, including the challenge to the GVA viability study, is so inconvenient for the Council that there has been a systematic attempt to bury it.

Both you, Cllr Strickland and the Council in general protested that, this time round, the Council would be open, transparent and evidence-based. Since the evidence emerged that the employment designation was undeliverable, however, we have found the reality to be quite the opposite.

Stephen Brice

Chair - Pinkham Way Alliance

xxx

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