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Robert Davis leaves Westminster City Council planning role after 17 years

Westminster City Council’s deputy leader Robert Davis will no longer be cabinet member for the built environment – ending his 17-year responsibility for the borough’s planning applications.

Mr Davis will vacate his role as chair of the planning committee, and instead take on a new cabinet position as head of business, culture and heritage, reports CN’s sister title Architects’ Journal.

The new role was announced by Westminster City Council leader-elect Nickie Aiken as part of her proposed cabinet, which included a number of fresh posts.

Mr Davis recently came under fire from Save Britain’s Heritage for his support for the £775m Paddington Cube, which was granted planning permission earlier this month, having replaced an earlier concept for a 72-storey tower.

The conservation body accused Mr Davis of presenting the scheme to other committee members in a “partisan one-sided manner”.

The group also claimed that Mr Davis disregarded “significant objections” and noted how he had previously voiced his support for the scheme in the media.

In a statement, Mr Davis said: “It has been an amazing unprecedented time leading on planning in Westminster. I look back with huge pride on what has been achieved by a sense of common purpose and collective effort.

“Working effectively together with landowners and developers and keeping a high benchmark on design standards has seen Westminster at the forefront of development and design.”

Mr Davis added that he would continue to lead the council’s relaunched Design Excellence campaign and take charge of its urban design strategy.

We will also continue to be in charge of “all major public realm schemes” in Bond Street, Hanover Square, Baker Street and Oxford Street.

Westminster council’s former built environment deputy Richard Beddoe will now head the planning application committee.

Daniel Astaire will become cabinet member for planning and the public realm, and will take charge of the borough’s strategic planning policy. The new cabinet will take up their roles on 25 January.

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