AN OPEN letter to Mayor of London Boris Johnson:
Thank you for responding to the questions in the Harrow Observer on February 26 and March 5.
We would appreciate your comments on the following: 40 per cent of the questions from Harrow residents were on proposed or existing high-rise,high density developments in Harrow.
There was a degree of self-contradiction in some of your replies to these.In one you wrote that you believe that historic views and buildings are "hugely important".
There was a question on the Gayton Road proposal (P/4126/ 07/CFU), one which was referred to your office.It would be very obtrusive six to 10 storeys among two-storey houses and small apartment blocks, and would obstruct views of the Hill.
The report said that there were insufficient grounds to reject the proposal. However the wording of the report by your staff (PDU/2030 and 2030a, May 29, 2008) makes it clear that they had misgivings in a number of areas including the quality of life of the residents of these blocks.
Nevertheless it was argued that the development could be allowed to proceed because the money raised by sale of the land would be used to improve leisure facilities in the borough. That argument was never strictly honest and is now invalid.
Gayton Library has been moved at considerable cost to a converted office building.Did the GLA officers know that this was to be only a temporary arrangement? The original, purpose-designed library building has been empty for a year and was recently advertised for rent on unrealistic terms. If the Mayor's staff had insisted on necessary changes to the development proposal, this mess might have been avoided.
There is much talk currently about sustainability and Harrow Council has just run a consultation on sustainable communities.
The Gayton Road proposal falls well short of the London Plan's target for renewable energy,yet the GLA officers "are satisfied that the revised strategy achieves the maximum carbon reductions possible for the scheme". Why did they not insist that the scheme be modified if it did not meet the requirement?
You advised one questioner that concerned residents should get in touch with Harrow Council "and make sure your opinion is heard".
Many residents, including professionally qualified architects and others, have done so, but the council has not taken their advice.
We look forward to taking part in the consultation for your revised London Plan. We hope that it will insist on all developments in Harrow and elsewhere being planned as a whole,with proper emphasis on visual impact, mutual interaction, traffic and infrastructure and with a genuine concern for sustainability.
BRIAN TYERS PETER COPPOCK
RON TUCKER WOLFGANG MULLER