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 and Barry John Lomax to appear before the Place Committee or Full Council to explain the recent failures in the Planning Department.

Specifically:

- Why did the Council fail to determine the application at the former Tudor Williams site in New Malden within the statutory timeframe, resulting in a costly appeal at the Planning Inspectorate?

- What lessons have been learnt to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

- Will the Council robustly object to the proposals by Rocco Homes?

- Will the Council commit to increasing transparency in the planning process?

- What is Ms Hussain, Mr Lomax 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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Comments

  • June 23, 2020
    Ruth Jones

    Shame on the Council!

    Reply
  • June 24, 2020
    critic

    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.

    Reply

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