Ed Miliband's stone monolith is unlikely to get planning permission, Westminster's planning chief says

Planning chief says stone could be broken up and be used in local highway project

Jon Stone
Monday 04 May 2015 17:43
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Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings

Ed Miliband’s plan to erect an 8ft stone monument to Labour’s manifesto in the Downing Street garden is unlikely to get planning permission, Westminster’s planning chief has indicated.

Conservative councillors, who outnumber Labour councillors on the relevant planning committee by three to one, will decide whether the council grants permission for Labour's political gesture to go ahead.

Robert Davis, the Tory who chairs the planning committee and the council's cabinet member for the built environment told the Independent Mr Miliband’s plan would face a number of obstacles.

“The fact is the committee who would make the decision comprises of three Conservatives and one Labour member so you could probably guess without me having to tell you the likely way the decision would go,” he said.

“It would require planning permission, a listed building consent, and as [10 Downing Street is] a very important historic listed building he would have to consult Historic England.”

Mr Davis, said he could not prejudice the committee’s decision but suggested an alternative use for the stone from the monument were the planning application rejected.

“My own view is that TfL are making some major changes to the road system – they’re creating a cycle highway along the Embankment. I think probably the stone could be used in part of the pavement there,” he said.

Mr Davis said he would have to consider all representations and would keep an open mind about the proposal because of his role as the committee’s chair, however.

The Labour leader’s stone monolith bears the Labour party logo and Mr Miliband’s signature beneath six election pledges ranging from “a strong economic foundation” to “homes to buy and action on rents”.

If the local council refused Mr Miliband permission to erect the obelisk he would be able to appeal the decision to the Communities Secretary, who would likely have been recently appointed by Mr Miliband.

The Communities Secretary could then overturn the council's refusal of planning permission on appeal.

At the unveiling of the stone on Sunday morning Mr Miliband said: “Our six pledges form the basis of our plan for working people.”

“These six pledges are now carved in stone, and they are carved in stone because they won’t be abandoned after the general election.”

The stone was widely mocked on social media on Sunday morning because of its outlandish nature.

Mr Miliband this morning defending the stone, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's to remind working people in this country I'm absolutely serious about changing how this country works."

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