Anyone perusing this week's list of major London planning applications referred to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan might be surprised to see a proposal for a "polar bear sanctuary with snow slide".
The address given is "The Scoop, third step down" – a reference to the amphitheatre outside the Greater London Authority's former offices in the More London complex – and the local planning authority for the proposal is listed as Southwark Council.
The application is dated 2021 – when the Greater London Authority was still based at the old City Hall in SE1 – but has appeared on this week's list of new schemes.
Any Southwark Council officials who stumbled across the application might have been inclined not to write it off as far-fetched, given that in 2020 developers in the borough put forward an apparently serious proposal for an alligator park in the Old Kent Road.
At least GLA officials created a mock planning application for testing purposes, unlike colleagues at Swale Borough Council in Kent who accidentally approved and rejected a swathe of genuine planning applications with spurious reasons during IT testing in 2021.
In Swale, plans to demolish a pub were given legally binding approval with conditions including "2) incy," "3) wincy" and "4) spider".
Another application was refused with the reasons given as "1) Don't even bother re-applying LOL" and "2) Not even joking LMAO".
The council was forced to seek judicial review of its own decisions in order to regularise the situation.