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Boris fails to adjudicate on Eileen House case after a whole year

This weekend marked the first anniversary of the decision by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to 'take over' the controversial planning application for the redevelopment of the Eileen House site near Elephant & Castle.

Boris fails to adjudicate on Eileen House case after a whole year

In October 2011 Southwark's planning committee voted to reject the planning application by Oakmayne for a 41-storey tower designed by Allies and Morrison to be built on the site of Eileen House on Newington Causeway.

The scheme is vociferously opposed by the adjacent Ministry of Sound club which believes it will be forced out of business if new homes are built so close to its noisy venue.

The planning application was first submitted to Southwark Council in early 2009 and it seems likely that at least four years will have passed before a final decision is made.

A year ago the Mayor of London exercised his seldom-used power to 'take over' the application and make himself the final decision-maker.

A public hearing was scheduled for 12 March this year but the meeting was cancelled and has yet to be rescheduled.

During the mayoral election campaign this spring both Labour's Ken Livingstone and Lib Dem Brian Paddick made clear their opposition to the Oakmayne scheme.

After 12 months in the Mayor's in-tray the application is still pending and no-one will say when they expect a decision to be made.

Oakmayne declined to comment on the current state of play. The Mayor of London's office and the Ministry of Sound failed to respond to requests for comment.

Last week City Hall published the Mayor's response to a question tabled by Labour London Assembly member Nicky Gavron asking when public consultation on the Eileen House application would be completed.

Mr Johnson replied: "There is no statutory public consultation under way. A further statutory public consultation will be conducted prior to the public hearing and in the interim any representations received will be held on file and reported to me prior to any decision regarding this application being made."

In June, the Mayor told Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff: "I will announce the determination date for this application once I have received further information expected from the applicant and conducted further public consultation".

In response to a question about another application 'taken over' by City Hall, the Mayor said last week: "It is important to make clear that I believe the determination of planning applications should generally be left to local authorities where possible.

"I only take over applications where there is likely to be a genuine strategic impact on the implementation of my London Plan."

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