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Woodrow sets the record straight

letters

I refer to your lead news items headed 'Camden planning chair in King's Cross hot water' (AJ 17.2.05) and 'Fresh row hits Camden chairman' (AJ 24.2.05).

I am dismayed by what appears to be consistent hostility towards myself in the AJ, and I am astonished that articles of this nature can appear without even approaching me for my comments or checking our easily accessible website records. I believe this to be unprofessional and in breach of journalistic codes of practice, especially as the articles were full of inaccuracies. I will make the following points:

l I am neither 'barred' (AJ 17.2.05) nor 'expected to be barred from meetings' (AJ 24 February) about the King's Cross applications. It is the opinion of the borough solicitor that I may be seen not to be impartial on this subject, but this is an opinion that I firmly reject. My solicitor has made that clear and my public statement on this subject would have been given to the AJ had I been contacted. The matter has now been referred by the borough solicitor to the Standards Board for England, who may or may not investigate her allegations.

l The Coram Family issue (AJ 24.2.05) is not a 'fresh row'.

The decision to reject their application was made on 20 January - a month before your publication. The reasons for rejection of the application were based on the proposal's excessive size, scale, height, bulk, design and location within the Bloomsbury conservation area.

The reasons were clearly spelt out in the decision letter and would have been made available to the AJ had it asked for them.

The committee report also makes it clear that the planning brief 'had never been formally adopted and could not be a consideration of great weight' - in contradiction to the assertions you printed.

l In spite of the headline, the only people quoted in the article attacking me are two representatives of the applicant, the Coram Family. They, unlike your reporter, attended the two meetings that carefully considered the applications and heard members debating the application at length and expressing their unanimous support for the Coram organisation as an excellent provider of education and childcare facilities for disadvantaged children.

They also heard Camden's deputy leader, Sue Vincent, say that it was 'regrettable that the applicant, officers and local amenity groups and objectors had not been able to negotiate an acceptable scheme'.

Brian Woodrow, chair, development control committee, Camden council

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