Leegate plans may have to go before London Mayor – letter from Killian Morris of St Modwen

Killian MorrisWhat we have secured is a resolution by Lewisham Council to grant planning consent, as opposed to securing the planning consent itself. From our perspective, the next step is the publication the minutes of the Planning Committee in order that we can review the detail of the various draft planning conditions and associated matters.

The other important step is the referral of the Planning Committee’s decision to the Mayor of London in order for it to be established whether or not the Mayor is satisfied for Lewisham to grant planning consent. We have not yet received confirmation from Lewisham that the decision has been referred to the Mayor, but we would expect the response from the Mayor to take around 3 weeks from the date on which the application is referred.

In the event the new Mayor confirms his satisfaction with Lewisham’s decision, we would expect to instruct our lawyers to commence negotiations with Lewisham on the S.106 Agreement. It is difficult to gauge how long this process will take but it will likely be months as opposed to weeks. Once the S.106 Agreeement has been completed, we will be issued with the planning consent which may then be implemented.

I hope this makes the current situation clearer – it is all rather process driven at this stage but that is the way the planning system works. As the timescales become clearer, we will be keeping tenants and other stakeholders informed and will be seeking to enter into discussions regarding our ultimate requirement to secure vacant possession of the centre.

It is important, however, that we keep as much life and activity at the centre whilst these discussions progress and whilst the planning process reaches its conclusion. As noted by a representative of the traders at the planning committee, St Modwen has been making considerable efforts to maintain footfall at the centre and to fill vacant premises, by attracting new tenants, engaging ‘meantime uses’ and other initiatives.

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