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Local paper pens open letter to Boris in housing row

A weekly newspaper has penned an open letter to London mayor Boris Johnson after he attacked its coverage of a local planning row.

Mr Johnson accused the Islington Tribune of “denouncing” him over his support for a controversial housing development in the borough.

“Every week I get through the letterbox the Islington Tribune denouncing me for trying to get some scheme going at Mount Pleasant, which will deliver thousands of homes for Londoners,” he said.

“They don’t like it because they don’t like the design, they think it’s too dense, and what I’m saying – I think it’s a beautiful design actually, I think it will be a wonderful place to live – we can’t have it all ways.”

The mayor was speaking in a State of London debate at the 02 centre organised by radio station LBC.

But Islington MP Emily Thornberry defended the paper saying:  “It’s not the Islington Tribune that’s having a go at him. It’s local people that are up in arms about it.”

Now the paper has penned an open ‘Dear Boris’ letter attempting to explain its position.

It said:  “It is true that not a week seems to go by without a story in the Tribune criticising you over the Mount Pleasant development. But, as local MP Emily Thornberry points out this week, it is the borough’s residents denouncing you, not the Tribune.”

The row erupted over the proposed development of the former Royal Mail sorting office at Mount Pleasant.

The paper told Mr Johnson:  “You demonstrated a certain disingenuousness at Wednesday night’s LBC State of London debate, when you implied that Nimbys were holding back a development of much-needed affordable homes.

“No one is against development on the Mount Pleasant site. But the last thing this area – or London – needs are hundreds of luxury apartments that will probably be bought as investment properties and left empty by the wealthy who live elsewhere in the world.

“The public fear this scheme is nothing more than a land grab by Royal Mail shareholders who are taking what was once publicly owned land and making sure they can sell it at vast profit to overseas billionaires, while ordinary Londoners are desperate for a decent place to live at a decent rent.”