By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
Plans to install 155 permanent anti-terrorism bollards around Windrush Square in Brixton were approved by Lambeth’s extraordinary corporate committee on Wednesday.
The “heritage style, cannon-shaped bollards”, 1.1 metre high, are set to replace temporary ones put in over the summer in a bid to protect the square from terrorist attacks.
Brandan Wilkinson, principal planning officer for Brixton and Clapham, told the committee that the assessment that needed to be made was “whether or not the open character of Rush Common is harmed in any way”.
Under the Rush Common legislation, planning applications “must preserve the openness of the land”, while the council must give consent for “erections or buildings above the surface of the earth”.
The consent is separate from other planning considerations.
Mr Wilkinson said that officers considered that, “due to the relatively small size” of and “particularly the spacing between the bollards”, officers were “of the opinion that it wouldn’t harm the open character of the Rush Common”.
Two councillors abstained from the vote, one of whom thought she was attending a training session and admitted she hadn’t read the report.
Clapham Cllr Linda Bray, who was substituting for a committee member, said: “I haven’t read the paper for this committee, I’m afraid, because I think I must have got my dates mixed up.
“In my diary I had this down as a training session.”
The chairman said there was a training session on but it was after the meeting.
Cllr Bray abstained as she didn’t “feel equipped to make a decision”.
Before the vote Green Cllr Scott Ainslie questioned why the bollards couldn’t be replaced with trees, which he said would be “more in keeping” with Windrush Square and Rush Common.
But Mr Wilkinson said: “Because we have to assess the application that is in front of us.
“We don’t have the opportunity to explore any other options.
“I wouldn’t imagine that trees would be able to serve the same purpose as these quite highly engineered bollards.
“They are of a particular size and standard to withstand certain force and I’m not sure trees would be able to account for that.”
Cllr Ainslie abstained from the vote.
“I’d like to know if another alternative has been sought,” he said.
Cllr Peter Ely and chairman Cllr Adrian Garden approved the plans.
The formal planning application will be considered at a date yet to be set.
Lambeth council said the bollards around Windrush Square were an anti-terrorism measure “to protect crowds that gather in the square which is popular for meetings, rallies and socialising”.
Pictured top: The bollards are to be installed in Windrush Square in Brixton
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