A date has been set for Sadiq Khan to make a decision on the Hondo Enormo-Tower project along Pope’s Road in Brixton. The Mayor of London will hold a public hearing at City Hall from 10.00am on June 10.
The Labor Mayor took control of the planning application in March 2021 after the Lambeth Planning Committee gave permission for the 20-storey Enormo Tower in November 2020.
Khan was concerned about the level of public opposition to the tower – as well as his own election campaign ahead of the May 2021 mayoral vote.
Next month’s public hearing is open to the public. However, there are only 140 places to attend. Entrance to the new Victoria Docks Town Hall is available from 8.30am. The hearing will also be webcast.
Anyone who has made a written statement to Lambeth or the GLA may apply to speak at the hearing. This does not include if you signed a petition and did not send a separate objection.
If you plan to speak, you must write to the town hall at least seven days before the hearing. Only 15 minutes have been set aside to hear all opponents.
City Hall is expected to release the public report ahead of the June 2 hearing. That should give some indication of how Khan leans now when it comes to the Enormo-Tower.
The Enormo-Tower story has dominated local politics and activism for the past two years. AG Hondo Popes Road BV first submitted a planning application in March 2020.
The Lambeth Planning Committee met in August 2020 to make a decision. He failed to do so with poor management of the committee by Chairman Cllr Clair Wilcox. Just when it looked like a motion to dismiss the request was about to be made, the president allowed the officers to filibuster. The meeting ran out of time and the decision was postponed.
A second planning committee meeting was held in November 2021. Members voted 4-3 in favor of Hondo Enterprises building the Enormo-Tower. And this despite a petition of nearly 5,000 inhabitants who opposed it.
Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, wrote to her party colleague Sadiq Khan on February 10, 2021 urging him to take control of the decision. Hayes described the Enormo-Tower as “mediocre and bland.”
The Mayor of London is considering the planning application by Hondo Enterprises for a tower block on Pope’s Road. I wrote to the mayor to rephrase my objections. This building is too big, the design is not good enough for Brixton conservation areas. Brixton deserves better >> pic.twitter.com/HPaMYuOgaK
— Helen Hayes 💙🌹 (@helenhayes_) February 10, 2021
Sadiq Khan quietly endorsed the tower in December, although his office informed community groups he had “not yet reviewed the appin official emails.
This led lawyers Leigh Day – who represent the community campaign – by writing to the Mayor and calling the circumstances”extraordinary.”
The letter compelled Lambeth to provide more details about the deal they struck with Hondo, including exactly what Hondo offered in exchange for Lambeth’s permission to build a 20-storey office block in the heart of Brixton .
GLA’s Development Manager overturned the Mayor’s decision on the grounds that Lambeth Council had failed to provide the Mayor with all of the objections received. Now it looks like Khan has had a second thought.
Hondo has since offered sweeteners in an attempt to convince the Mayor of London. These include throwing more money into a skills training fund, increasing the timeframe for “affordable” workspace and increasing the number of apprenticeships.
Background in Hondo and Brixton:
Lambeth Planning, Hondo Enormo-Tower and The Brixton Project: how residents are excluded from the regeneration process
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Who is behind the development?
The planning application states that the project “is a joint venture of AG Hondo Pope’s Road BV who have entered into an agreement to purchase the site, currently occupied by Sports Direct and Flannels”.
He goes on to say that Hondo is part of a property development company that has a “long-standing presence in the borough having bought Market Row and Brixton Village” in, uh, “March 2018.”
Housekeeping DJ and socialite Taylor McWilliams – the sole director of Hondo Enterprises which owns Brixton Village and Market Row – is also director of AG Hondo Pope’s Road BV, along with Robert Tieskens, director of the Dutch branch of the monster of New York-based investment. company, Angelo Gordon.
More recently, Brixton Buzz exclusively revealed that the Brixton Project, the so-called “community representatives” who had offered to manage the small amount of community space in the tower, were in fact paid by Hondo.