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Council and minister criticise abuse at planning meeting

Camden Council has condemned disturbances at its planning committee last week when members of the public shouted obscenities at councillors.

The abuse, which also saw a chair thrown, occurred when members allowed a development of four houses in West Hampstead.

Footage shown by the Camden New Journal revealed that uproar followed when objectors shouted that people would be left looking out of their windows at a brick wall.

It reported one person shouted amid the expletives: “Everybody, stop paying council tax” and asked if councillors were “on the side of the rich”.

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Planning officers recommended granting permission. Their report said: “The proposed development would occupy most of the currently open plot with a new three storey building.

“There would be some impacts on residential amenities of neighbouring occupiers but these are considered acceptable on balance, and any harm found would need to be balanced against the scheme’s contribution towards housing.”

A Camden spokesperson said: “We expect all participants at our public meetings to be respectful, to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and to follow the procedures that allow for democratic participation.

"Officers and councillors should never be subjected to this kind of abusive and threatening behaviour.”

Robert Jenrick, at the time still Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, tweeted: “Councillors should never have to experience abuse for doing their jobs. Or for approving much needed new housing.”

Mark Smulian

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