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Camden: Woodrow was warned, not banned

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I am writing to correct serious inaccuracies in your article, 'Camden planning chair in King's Cross hot water' (AJ 17.2.05).

Your opening statement, that 'Camden's chairman of planning has been barred from any further discussion about the King's Cross redevelopment because of comments he made to The Architects' Journal', is entirely untrue.

As Camden council's monitoring officer, I have formally advised Brian Woodrow that he should not take part in any discussion regarding the King's Cross Opportunity Area planning applications. However, I totally refute the suggestion that Woodrow has been 'barred' from these discussions, and also that this advice was given to him solely on the basis of comments attributed to him in your publication.

Woodrow has been given this advice because I am in complete agreement with the external solicitor, appointed to advise the council on the King's Cross applications, who believes that there is a significant risk that Woodrow either will not, or will not be seen to, act in an impartial or objective manner in dealing with these applications and should, therefore, play no further part in its consideration.

Camden council believes that any continued participation by Woodrow could bring the council into disrepute and would be likely to place him in breach of the Member Code of Conduct.

The King's Cross site is one of the largest brownfield development sites in Europe and it is the responsibility of Camden council to ensure that any related planning applications are handled with the utmost professionalism.

I would be grateful if, instead of speculating on this situation, the reports you publish reflect the clear and factual statements you have been given on this matter.

Alison Lowton, director of law and administration and monitoring officer, Camden council

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