In my last blog I bemoaned the lack of interest shown in the Town Hall by local residents. Well I am well and truly eating my words.

It was standing room only on Tuesday at the Town Hall. The event was a meeting of the Finchley and Golders Green Planning Sub Committee. Residents in West Finchley were up in arms over a planning application.

The application in question was at 1 Courthouse Gardens. The application was for the demolition of an existing house and for its conversion into six flats. Not only had the whole of West Finchley turned up but the leader of the Council had written in to object. Not to be outdone the Ward Councillors (in addition the one sitting on the committee) joined residents to protest.

This application had already been turned down twice (in different forms) by a planning inspector. The residents who spoke were well prepared and used their meagre three minutes to make some good points. When it came to the vote the Committee voted to refuse the application.

The rest of the meeting considered the usual array of planning applications. There was some public interested in a planning application a large plot in Wildwood Road in Hampstead Garden Suburb. This was a tricky application.

The Chairman of the Committee also happens to be the Ward Councillor. He seemed to be unsure which way he should vote. So, he introduced a new concept. “Where an application is finely balanced the status quo should apply in which case the application should be refused”.

The more mischievous amongst us instantly named this as “The Marshall Doctrine” I silently logged this for future use.

The meeting wound its usual merry way through a variety of applications. The final consideration was a plan to erect a house in Leicester Road N2. The Ward Councillor did not like this and a majority of the committee agreed with him. He was asked to provide reasons. I was in admiration when he reeled off a list of planning policies as set out in the Boroughs Unitary Development Plan. The planning officers had to intervene and helpfully suggested that some of the references to policy did not exist and one which did was to do with archaeological remains. We got there in the end though.

The circus now moves on to next Wednesday’s main planning committee. This will deal with the Brent Cross Planning application. I have just been sent the Agenda all three hundred pages. My advice to residents get there early if you want a seat.