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Southwark planners face complaint to Local Government Ombudsman

A prominent South London-based architect is set to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman over the behaviour of Southwark planners.

Tim Gough, a former RIBA vice-president, has accused planners of deliberately misleading the council's planning committee over the opinion of a local amenity group.

Gough, who is a partner at Robertson Gough, told the AJ that he was livid at the way planners had handled an application for a small mixed-use development in Camberwell's Grosvenor Park Conservation Area.

The complaint is based around comments made by the Camberwell Society about Gough's designs for the project, which not only said that it had 'no objection' to the scheme, but also went on to praise it.

Gough's complaint is that planners ignored these positive comments and had, in their planning report to the planning committee, summed up the society's comments with simply a 'no objection'.

To make matters worse, the committee went on to reject the project on the grounds of poor design.

The Camberwell Society's comments stated that the 'high degree of design consideration given demonstrates a sympathetic response to the immediate context and an enhancement to the part of the conservation area'.

Gough described the decision to ignore the society's comments as 'highly unprofessional'.

'This is outrageous behaviour by the planners and the Royal Town Planning Institute ought to have something to say about it,' he added. 'It is about time planners like this started behaving in a professional manner'.

by Ed Dorrell

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