Mayor To Settle MOS Planning Row

London Mayor Boris Johnson is to rule on a controversial planning application being opposed by nightclub operator Ministry Of Sound.

The popular club in Elephant and Castle, southeast London, has been trying to prevent the building of a nearby block of flats because it believes noise complaints from residents could eventually force its closure.

The mayor intervened after Southwark’s Liberal Democrat councilors, who had turned down the plan, came in for criticism when it emerged that their party received thousands of pounds in donations from the club.

The councilors had not declared the donations at a planning meeting, and Labour councilors and Oakmayne – the developer building the flats – were unaware of the size and scale of the donations until they were revealed by the BBC.
It also emerged that the council’s in-house lawyer had warned councilors they may be in breach of the law by not declaring the gifts.

Ministry of Sound and the Lib Dem councilors have claimed their actions were above board.

“Having considered a report on this case, I hereby direct that I will act as local planning authority for the purposes of determining the planning application,” Johnson wrote in a letter to the council.

Oakmayne chairman Christopher Allen says he’s delighted by the mayor’s intervention and is confident his firm’s plans will help regenerate the area and provide affordable housing.

“We are already building 350 homes nearby, along with a five-screen cinema and major new supermarket, and see no reason why Eileen House should not be able to contribute to the area’s regeneration,” he explained.

“The homes will be priced for ordinary Londoners, and the jobs created and our £4 million community contribution will benefit local people and services.”

Ministry of Sound says it’s surprised by Johnson’s intervention and will speak to the mayor’s office for more detail.