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Reverse order

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Members of the packed public gallery at Westminster City Council's planning committee meeting to discuss Pimlico School last week were entertained by a farcical performance from officials and councillors alike. Shrieks of laughter greeted the council's laughably optimistic projections of available parking spaces in the area (with the traffic analyst 'neglecting' to mention that a large number of available spaces comprised a taxi rank). The best moment came when the residential element of the 'pathfinder' PFI scheme was being presented by planning officer Bill Stewart. He decided to show members the applicants' 'crude and unrefined' original attempt, slated by the council in February, and then to follow it up with the latest scheme showing how much better it was. Sadly, as planning chairman Alexander Nicholl pointed out, Stewart got them the wrong way round. Crude and unrefined indeed - but still granted permission (subject to DETR approval). Education, education, education.

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