Council reject Saatchi development, but Mayor Boris overturns decision

Published: 22 September 2011

MAYOR of London Boris Johnson has blocked the chance of creating much-needed open space in the heart of Fitzrovia.
The Mayor overturned a decision by the Town Hall’s planning committee to reject plans for a massive new development at the Charlotte Street office block of advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi, famous for running campaigns for the Tory Party.
At a meeting at the Greater London Authority on Monday, Mr Johnson said the Charlotte Street area was crucial to the economic wellbeing of the city.

But opponents maintain his decision was due to the developers’ promise to hand over £1.6million towards the Crossrail project. 

Charlotte Street Association’s Max Neufeld fears the decision will spell doom for the area by setting a dangerous precedent. “There are five other major developments, bigger than this, in Fitzrovia,” he said.
“If developers now have to maximise their contribution to Crossrail, and pay a Crossrail levy, you can say goodbye to any more affordable housing or open spaces. This levy will simply encourage overdevelopment. Boris Johnson will not let anything stand in the way of Crossrail.”
Labour councillor Adam Harrison said the area was in desperate need of more open space, which could have been provided by asking the developers to re-draw their plans. 
He added: “The Mayor has overridden a decision by Camden councillors in order to secure £1.6m for Crossrail.”
Mr Johnson said: “As well as providing a vital contribution to Crossrail and a boost to the construction industry, I welcome the fact that there will be considerable investment in the community. I am of the firm view that this ambitious redevelopment should go ahead.”


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