AS A local councillor, I write in response to the letter from Jean Doherty and Liz Thompson of the Fulwell and North Teddington Community Group (Social housing will be crammed into one ward, October 16).
They are quite wrong to say that the council is targeting the provision of affordable housing in the Fulwell and Hampton Hill ward.
In fact, the council is committed to providing affordable housing across the entire borough.
A good example locally is the major affordable housing scheme in Hampton Wick, on the former Jewson's site.
It is good to know that your correspondents welcome the principle of affordable housing.
It is true that the Shacklegate Lane/Railway Road area does have one site being developed, and a further three in prospect, two of which are owned by the council.
However, under the present Unitary Development Plan, introduced by the Conservative administration in 2005, all four sites were capable of development, so construction here was always likely.
The loss of parking space is the real issue. This is a matter for the local planners, and would have been considered alongside all other planning considerations before planning approval was granted.
This area, like most parts of the borough, is subject to conflicting planning objectives: the need for housing, for parking, for green space etc.In this case the planners would have weighed
up the options, and obviously concluded that housing would provide the greatest benefit to the borough.
Planning is a quasi-judicial process, and any unfavourable decision can be taken by the applicant to independent appeal.
So, planners must demonstrate that each planning argument has been considered and properly weighed up.
In the case of the Shacklegate Lane garage sites, the decision was made by the planning committee itself, and the committee took full account of the parking issues.
If Jean Doherty and Liz Thompson are convinced either that the planning committee has not done its duty, or that the evidence put before it was inadequate, it is open to them to take the matter to judicial review.
However, they would have to engage properly with the arguments and provide real evidence rather than mere rhetoric.
I am not happy with the unnecessary discord that this letter introduces locally by such a one-sided interpretation.
As councillors, our aim is to represent residents and be as helpful as possible, always accepting that we cannot always be in agreement.
In this particular case, we did assist and advise those objecting to the developments, and speak against them at the planning committee.
We also pressed the council, as the letter writers kindly say, to preserve as much parking as possible on these sites, and we succeeded.
The sites will not return to the pre-war pattern of terraced housing, but will provide a judicious mix of housing and parking.
If residents would like a more balanced and measured view of this matter they would be welcome to attend our area consultation meeting, and discuss it with me and my fellow councillors, on Wednesday, December 2, at 7.30pm at Hampton Hill Junior School. COUNCILLOR JEREMY ELLOY
Lib Dem Fulwell and Hampton Hill