Mayor Boris Johnson to decide on Saatchi and Saatchi plan

Published: September 15, 2011

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of riding roughshod over Town Hall democracy as he attempts to reverse a decision to deny Saatchi and Saatchi permission to expand their head­quarters.

At a hearing on Monday, the Mayor will decide whether to overturn a decision made by Camden Council’s planning committee and allow the redevelopment of the office block in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia.

The redevelopment proposals, which were fiercely opposed by ­people living nearby, as well as councillors, businesses and civic group the Charlotte Street Association, would have seen the floor space increase by 70 per cent and extra storeys added.

Advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi helped mastermind the Conservative Party’s general election campaigns throughout the 1980s. Their plans were thrown out after Town Hall officials were told that the Mayor’s office was demanding developers Derwent contribute £1.6million to the Crossrail project. It would mean their contributions to social housing, open spaces and other benefits for Fitzrovia would be cut to virtually nothing, according to councillors.

Planning committee chairman Labour councillor Tom Neumark said: “We threw out this plan because it lacked affordable homes and open space and faced serious objections from people living there. It did not fit our policy.

The Mayor insisted on taking the maximum contribution from the developers for Crossrail, which means the developer could offer little else.”

The Mayor’s press office refused to answer questions on the issue this week, but in a press statement released in June, said: “The Mayor be­lieves this site and its location, in this internationally recognised commercial hub, are so important to the development of the district and the wider London economy that he will determine the planning application himself.”


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