Tuesday 22 January 2013 6.49pm
I had been reassured that there would be a public pedestrian way through - no mention was made of this being privatised or of the potential implications of this. Can anyone shed any more light on this? Does this explain the frequent comments about "gated" development (which again I failed to see when reviewing the plans)...
There are several aspects to this. But in essence Lend Lease and "Soundings", their PR advisors, are trying to say "it will be public" but without actually being open and honest about the controls they will retain.
The Lend Lease outline planning application proposes a "public park
". But it is important to note that the park not be managed by the council. Instead the developer is proposing the park will be managed by a private Estate Management Company (EMC) "Parks Advisory Group" and not, as is usual within Southwark, designated public open space and either managed by the council or by a trust (like BOST/Bankside Open Spaces Trust
In practice this means that a nameless person will control access, decide what can be done and what cannot, without any community input whatsoever. This is unlike council or BOST-managed spaces which actively encourage community participation.
The roads within the site
are also proposed to be managed by the EMC. The Highways Authority has itself objected to this, but councillors ignored this and local objections
Thus the entire development will be managed in the way that MORE London is - that is they will be able to invent policies to exclude and control on a whim with absolutely no democratic control.
Council officers said in their recommendation to accept the application that they donít see any difference between the EMC and council management. They appear not to understand the democracy argument.
Finally, much of the "semi-private space
" which counts towards the green space to be provided in the development and is much trumpeted by Lend Lease, will in fact be elevated on raised podiums, and therefore invisible to all except the lucky few. These podiums are largely hiding retail and car parking - the developer has been allowed to provide more than two Wembley Stadium's worth of parking despite adopted council policy being the development should be car-free.
This aspect in itself is directly responsible for much of the massive loss of mature trees on the site, because raised podiums cannot be accommodate existing trees which are, not surprisingly, at ground level.
and this one
discuss the issue in more detail, and this book
discusses it at length.