REVEALED: Kingston planning chief proclaims residents ‘shouldn’t participate’ in Planning Decisions

LISTEN to Mike Kiely’s views on Resident Planning above, taken from the BBC World Tonight on Radio 4, 27/04/2020

KINGSTON Council has long had a reputation amongst residents for being a soft-touch on development, with controversial high-rise schemes including  Tolworth Tower, The Old Post Office, Eden Walk and New Malden’s Multi-Storey Car Park being approved in recent years.

Residents have long complained at successive Development Control Committee meetings of how they feel the Council is acting on behalf of developers, rather than residents – a claim always strongly denied by successive administrations.

But a recording of Kingston Council’s Interim Planning ‘Transformation’ Lead, MIKE KIELY, this year would suggest otherwise.

In a recording released to the press (listen above), Mr Kiely can be heard discussing the joys of virtual meetings under the current Coronavirus Pandemic with other planning officers, saying they: “perhaps take out some of the, you know, excitable members and members of the public, which might actually be a good thing.”

But what exactly did Mr Kiely mean by that? Was he, Kingston’s Chief Planning Officer, really suggesting that it was better not having to deal with the public when considering planning applications?

He clarified his comments on The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 on 27th April 2020, whilst still employed by Kingston Council, saying: “Planning committees are a meeting in public, so the public have a right to witness it. They don’t participate in it and shouldn’t participate in it.”

Helen Hinton, Leader of the Kingston Independent Residents Group, said: “These comments have really shocked me – we all said Kingston didn’t care about residents when it came to planning, but this simply confirms it. Kingston Council don’t want residents participating in planning. It’s no surprise we officially have the worst planning department in the country.”

Helen has launched a petition calling upon Nazeya Hussain, Kingston Council’s Director of Growth, to appear before the Council and explain why Kingston’s Planning Chief thinks residents ‘shouldn’t participate’ in meetings, and whether this is a view held by the entire Planning Department.

Helen added: “We only need 567 residents to sign this petition to force planning officers to give answers to residents and insist they do better on planning.”

You can sign the petition below:

PETITION: Demanding Better on Planning Decisions

WE, the undersigned, under Kingston Council’s Petition Scheme (paragraph 9), hereby call upon Nazeya Hussain to appear before the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee (or the Response and Recovery Committee if SHAP is not sitting), to explain Mike Kiely’s comments to BBC World Tonight.

- Did Mr Kiely seek permission from Kingston Council before making these comments on BBC World Tonight?
- Can Ms Hussain please clarify the nature of Mr Kiely’s work at the Council between July 2019 and May 2020?
- Why are the Council proposing changes to make it far harder for residents to have their say in planning matters? Was Mr Kiely involved in these proposed changes?
- Does Ms Hussain agree with Mr Kiely that residents ‘shouldn’t participate’ in planning meetings?
- Did Ms Hussain know of Mr Kiely's views prior to his appointment or get to know them during his appointment?
- Did Mr Kiely's views influence why he was appointed?
- Does Ms Hussain agree with Mr Kiely’s other comments about ‘removing excitable members and members of the public’ being a positive thing?
- Will Ms Hussain commit to encouraging resident participation wherever possible in the planning process?
- Will the Council commit to increasing transparency in the planning process?
- Will Ms Hussain and the Council commit to ensuring that residents will still be able to easily participate in planning meetings, contrary to Mr Kiely’s comments?
- What is Ms Hussain and the Council doing to improve their dire record on planning, and improve their tarnished reputation amongst the residents of the borough?
- Will the Council commit to ensuring that all interested parties can continue to respond to planning applications, be them individuals, directors of companies, or chairs of community organisations?

**your signature**

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  • June 23, 2020
    Ruth Jones

    Shame on the Council!

  • June 24, 2020

    All round the ring road, it seems as if Kingston Council had a competition to build either the ugliest, or the most non-descript buildings possible. Above Aldi there is an ugly concrete office block which is now a hotel – a real eyesore. The council gave permission to chop down all the mature trees on one side of Brook Street. For what ? So that the developer could build flats right up to a noisy road with buses passing all day long. In France, this would be impossible, there would be proper planning of grass verges and wide pavements and avenues of trees, to make towns attractive. The Kingston College building is just built plonk next to a roundabout, no thought given to streetscape value.
    This Mike Kiely is obviously a pleb. Why does he call himself Mike ? Has he ever been to German towns like Wiesbaden, with a similar population to Kingston, or in France, to Toulouse, Nice, Grenoble…etc etc. If he has been to these towns, he has learnt nothing.


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