This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.
We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to refer the planning decision regarding Gaby's Deli at 30 Charing.
Petition update from the council, 17 October 2011Petition Response from Strategic Director Built Environment
Date sent: 17th October 2011
Dear Ms Virgo
Thank you for sending me the petition regarding Gaby’s restaurant on Charing Cross Road. My colleagues in our Legal and Democratic Services Team have already advised you that planning decisions are not subject to review by the Scrutiny Committee. If they were we would be unable to meet the government’s statutory requirements for determining applications within nationally prescribed deadlines. Planning Committees are therefore empowered to make final decisions on behalf of the Council.
In this case, even if the decision had been referred to the scrutiny Committee, it could only have considered whether the appropriate procedures were carried out. Having reviewed the papers and your petition, and aware of the various on line and published support for Gaby’s I am entirely confident that the proper procedures were followed and the decision made by the Committee was defensible and rational. The crux is that it was simply not open to the Committee in terms of planning law to turn down the application because it wanted to protect the private interests of the current occupier. Planning law does not allow us to do that however laudable and cherished the occupier may be. We can only be concerned with the use and , as you know, the proposal was to increase the size of the restaurant, not remove it or reduce its size. Any decision by the committee to refuse the application expressly to protect Gaby’s would almost certainly have been overturned on appeal and costs would have been awarded against us.
I know you will be disappointed by this response but I do assure you that everyone concerned with the application at the Council has full regard for the services that Gaby’s provides, but must also have regard to what we can and cannot do within the law.
Strategic Director Built Environment
Sandra Virgo, the petition creator, joined by: