Mayor aims to speed mail homes bid

Royal Mail privatisation

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%London's Mayor is to speed up a planning application that could lead to the construction of almost 700 houses on the site of a famed postal sorting office.

Royal Mail Group want to build 683 homes as well as shops, offices, restaurants and public space on half of the Mount Pleasant site in Central London.
The site straddles the London boroughs of Islington and Camden but there is on-going disagreement between the authorities over some aspects of the scheme.

The privatised Royal Mail wrote to Mayor Boris Johnson to ask if he would agree to take on the role of planning authority for the scheme, and he has now agreed to do so.

The Mayor said: "London is growing at an unprecedented rate and it is absolutely vital that we get on with the important work of building thousands of new homes as quickly as we can.

"By taking over this application it should be possible to speed up the decision making process. My team will be working closely with the local authorities and Royal Mail without further delay."

The Mayor will consider all of the planning issues and address concerns expressed by the boroughs and local residents before taking a decision on the planning application.

The remaining half of the Mount Pleasant site would continue to be a postal sorting office, employing up to 3,000 people.

The planning application could now be brought before the Mayor in the summer.

Royal Mail welcomed the move, saying: "Were our applications to be successful, Mount Pleasant will remain at the heart of Royal Mail's operations in London, processing mail posted in the capital and delivering to businesses and residents in the City and the West End. Altogether, around 3,200 Royal Mail staff are employed there.

"The applications cover a significant amount of enabling works which, once complete, will result in a surplus area of our Mount Pleasant site that we no longer need for our operations.

"The redevelopment of this area will help regenerate the local neighbourhoods, creating new public spaces and offering up to 680 new homes, including affordable housing.

"It will also provide 1,250 new jobs in the wider economy if the redevelopment gets the go-ahead.

"The regeneration will contribute to improvements to public services in the immediate area, such as schools and health services. It will also complement the new postal museum and visitor centre planned by the British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) as well as the new Crossrail station at Farringdon.

"We remain committed to transforming our Mount Pleasant site and contributing to the regeneration of this inner city area.

"We look forward to working with the GLA, the local authorities, local stakeholders and community representatives to achieve this."

James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development, said: "It's outrageous that the Mayor has taken this decision out of Islington and Camden's hands. There is no justifiable reason for him calling this decision in.

"There are a number of issues with this proposal. In particular we are appalled that it's only offering 12% affordable housing, when we have independent experts confirming it could provide far more."

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Mayor aims to speed mail homes bid

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