This will come as a shock, but I have to call it like it is - congratulations to Newham council for once. No really, I'm not kidding.
In early December, Redbridge council said that it intended to undertake the bare minimum of its statutory responsibilities over the planning consultation for the Metropolitan police's plans for Wanstead Flats. This was confirmed in an e-mail to me from the City of London Corporation's Paul Thomson, the Superintendent for Epping Forest, who denied that any promise had ever been given to residents from either Newham or Waltham Forest about their full involvement in the consultation. This is not what I remember from the pledges made by Met or Corporation representatives at the residents' public meeting that took place in October.
However, following lobbying by local people in Forest Gate, Newham council has stepped in to demand that its residents are not excluded. A letter from the Mayor's office to a member of the Save Wanstead Flats campaign says:
The scope of this wider consultation is still limited to streets closest to the Flats, but it is an important step for Newham council to take and one that further confuses exactly when the planning consultation will actually end.
We have advised Redbridge that in our opinion the correct consultation procedures have not been followed and all affected Newham residents should have been sent a formal notification letter in the same way that residents in Redbridge have been.
I understand that Redbridge has now agreed to consult our residents on this application.
For such a controversial application, I would have expected Redbridge council - and the City of London Corporation on whose behalf Redbridge is acting - to have ensured that every stage of the process was conducted with as much care as possible. Like so much else to do with the Met's proposed Olympic fortress on Wanstead Flats, however, the opposite seems to have been true and it is only right that Newham council has chosen to intervene when the "correct consultation procedures have not been followed", are needlessly hurried and poorly executed.
So what about residents in Waltham Forest? Will their council step forward too?