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Boris accused of bias over Mount Pleasant overhaul

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been accused of bias following his comments praising the controversial Mount Pleasant scheme in central London.

Johnson, who has called in the scheme, has been accused of favouritism after he said the scheme was ‘a beautiful design’ and ‘a wonderful place to live’.

Speaking at the LBC ‘State of London’ debate on June 25 at the O2 Johnson said: ‘Every week I get the Islington Tribune denouncing me for trying to get some scheme going at Mount Pleasant which will deliver thousands of homes for Londoner’s because they don’t like it because they don’t like the design.

‘We can’t have it all ways, we can’t insist that we build rows of thatched cottages.

‘Sometimes my colleagues in the boroughs can be a little bit slow in getting things off the ground.’

Considered one of the biggest housing developments in central London, the 680-home scheme by AHMM, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Wilkinson Eyre and Allies & Morrison. was rejected unanimously by both Islington and Camden Councils. It has been criticised for the high density of the development and the fact it will provide only around 12 per cent affordable housing.

Johnson has a legal obligation as the planning authority presiding over the scheme to remain neutral. The Mayor called in the £100m development stating that the decision needed speeding up.

Residents in Clerkenwell have stated that the Mayor has ignored their calls that the scheme could be disastrous.

Edward Denison, secretary of the Mount Pleasant Association has called the Mayor of pre-determining’ the decision over the scheme.

Speaking to the Islington Tribune, Jenette Arnold, London Assembly member for Islington said that Johnson was ‘deaf to our pleadings and blind to our lives.

‘This man does not know what being objective is.’

The Mount Pleasant scheme has attracted criticism from both architects and designers. Earlier this year designer Thomas Heathewick called the scheme ‘empty, cynical and vacuous’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The brief is wrong. That is where the scheme begins to lose the plot ... and we locals just keep shouting that out, to the apparently cloth ears of the mayor and his advisors.

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  • If Gillian Darley says the brief is wrong, Boris should climb down off his gilded bike and listen.

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