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Congestion Charge opponents use design as weapon against Livingstone

Design has become the latest front in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's war to see off Ken Livingstone's plan to expand London's Congestion Charge.

The council is set to argue that the cameras used to control the zone need planning permission to be erected.

The local authority's bosses have taken legal advice that says each of the separate cameras will have to go through the planning process.

Conservative council deputy leader, Daniel Moylan, the local politician behind the recent redesign of Kensington High Street, is leading the campaign to disrupt the Transport for London (TfL) proposals.

'We have counsel's opinion that this kit needs planning permission,' Moylan told the latest edition of quarterly journal Planning in London.

'This is not about the scheme itself, which we reluctantly accept is going ahead despite public opinion. It is about the environmental impact on the street scene of the poles and cameras, particularly in conservation areas.

'We told TfL of our legal advice. They said they had obtained a contradictory opinion, so we wrote to them asking them to follow the correct procedure as laid down by Parliament, which is to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Development.

'We expected they would apply as a responsible public authority chaired by the Mayor, but they have refused. It is breathtaking arrogance. I think TfL's behaviour jeopardises the Mayor's demand to acquire more powers to decide planning applications.

'The cameras' siting as well as their design is therefore more sensitive and should be given proper consideration by the local planning authority,' Moylan has added.

TfL's design champion, David Ubaka, admitted that he has had no input into the specification of the poles and cameras.

by Ed Dorrell

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