Elephant & Walworth Neighbourhood

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Thursday 20 March 2014 3.17pm
Feels a bit like Berlin here at the moment. Hard to believe Southwark Council are even taking the plan seriously to slice up the Elephant and Castle. How can those behind the proposal seriously consider leaving out the neighbourhood in the immediate vicinity of the three key landmarks that define the area - the tube station (Bakerloo), roundabout and shopping centre. Here in Perronet House we simply cannot claim to live anywhere else but Elephant and Castle, and the same goes for the swathes up London Road, St George's Road and side streets until they drift into Lambeth North. Our two year old TRA here has not once been contacted by anyone from this forum about being involved, and the application notes show scant consideration to this portion of Cathedrals Ward, as if the whole district west of the roundabout was only occupied by the two universities. Bonkers.

At least if it goes ahead we end up in the Western Free Zone and we keep the roundabout too! Yet it's a bit rich for the forum to claim lovely leafy Trinity Church Square of SE1... perhaps there's some good oil fields there or splendid vineyards?

In principle I've a big soft spot for neighbourhood plans, but this proposal is yet another bodge!

Cllrs, please Tear Down This Wall.
Thursday 20 March 2014 3.22pm
I must admit I don't understand what this is all about.

I live in the Trinity Street area and having been onto the Walworth Site (which overseas the historic value of the area) and the entire Trinity Street area has no historic value according to the site!!

It seems a strange boundary to draw up with no rhyme or reason for it?!
Thursday 20 March 2014 7.58pm
Good questions. Item 6 and 7 in this document summarise why the boundary is what is being proposed.
Thursday 20 March 2014 11.37pm
I read that document before commenting here or replying to Southwark.
It's poppycock. Point 6f concerns my locality:

6-f) at our conference in September 2013 there was interest in a possible extension of the area to include the Elephant and Castle Enterprise Quarter, London South Bank University and London College of Communications. We asked those who wished to extend the boundary to engage in outreach work and report back to the Forum meeting in December 2013. The report identified that we did not have the resources or capacity to include the Enterprise Quarter in the neighbourhood area.

As if the whole block west of the Elephant and Castle was an 'enterprise area'. And as if lack of resource justified not even e-mailing anyone at the Perronet House TRA - did you bother with the Hayles TRA either? There's a large council estate (Gaywood) here, and yes we may be enterprising, but your document reveals a massive ignorance about the area and a rather imperial advance of East Walworth towards Borough and Kennington. It's an embarrassment to the concept of neighbourhood planning that it's even got this far and the council are toying with it... though perhaps it suits their lack of enthusiasm for forums rather well to let it be mauled in the planning process by disgruntled locals.

Perhaps, if you're going to slice the Elephant in two at least have the decency of calling your neighbourbood East Elephant and Walworth or something like that rather than have the arrogance to suggest you represent The Elephant and Castle. Geography is quite clearly against such a claim!

Luke wrote:
Good questions. Item 6 and 7 in this document summarise why the boundary is what is being proposed.
Thursday 20 March 2014 11.54pm
So aggressive, Richard, why?

Take a look at the Bermondsey Forum website, you will see that any new boundary causes grief because by definition you are including or excluding.

If you are aggrieved and want a plan for your area, why don't you get on with it yourself? Perhaps spend some time listening to find out what people in your area want?

Or even better offer your energies to this group so that you can build a consensus within the rules of neighbourhood planning and help make a sensible case to the Council explaining why a neighbourhood plan for the entire E&C, far larger than any that are currently being proposed, could and should happen?
Friday 21 March 2014 12.07am
[quote Luke]So aggressive, Richard, why?

Because the initiative is yet another example of this amazing area with such great potential being clumsily cut up by well meaning people who don't invest some time in very basic engagement. (Yes you're in the same sin bin as TfL)

Because it's such a comically inept gesture flattered with consideration by a famously inept cabinet that it deserves to be ridiculed in the hope it'll jolt its contributors out of complacency.

It's really not complicated. Ask anyone on the street to draw a wobbly line around the Elephant and Castle and they'll include something with the roundabout / shopping centre / tube stations / pub at the centre. It's baffling that 'local people' would choose to do something very different.

Bermondsey's boundaries are not clear to me, but the challenge during them is obviously more difficult. The tube station in Bermondsey is much less helpful than at the Elephant for pin pointing a central location because it's about 100 years younger and is also unhelpfully far from the other famous place bearing that name, Bermondsey Street. Controversy over borders elsewhere doesn't excuse a proposal that so obviously chops up a neighbourhood that has a so much more coherent centre.

Of the various issues facing the Elephant, another forum isn't something that so fires me up I'd want to initiate its creation. I'd gladly support and contribute to one if it existed and as a starting point reflected a spatial and social geography I identified with as my locality.

As I understand it from off line conversations some within the proposed forum were keener for it to focus on Walworth. Given the increasing civic pride of the Walworth area what with the new heritage society and the new Walworth civic Square, perhaps that's a better start for this forum. Retreat a bit into an area that's easier to define and has much going for it, and avoid the challenge of including an area that appears not to be understood very well.
Friday 21 March 2014 7.21am
I can completely understand Richard's frustration. Planning matters are a big thing for us in this area, so a planning forum really means something. Before I came here I had never objected to a planning application and knew nothing about them, now it's a regular occurrence. I get quite wound up about the fight between the Southbank forum and the Bankside one about the slice of land we are in, both because a fight is stupid and damaging and also because it could mean we are included in a plan that covers Lambeth, which would mean we had no influence as Southwark is our planning authority, which would be bonkers.

Who knew people could be passionate about a neighbour plan, one of the most boring things on the planet.

Just one point Richard, the people doing the plan are just individuals, it's in no way council run. It's important to remember that they probably feel as passionate as you do, which might create tension where none is actually needed.

I actually think a plan for elephant would be quite good (enterprise zone, really?), so maybe you should try to pull other people in locally and see what they think. It could also set people on a collision course the council and TfL, but that's what the localism bill is about, letting local people have a say on planning policy.
Friday 21 March 2014 8.20am
Only just realised this was proposed after the SE1 article. A very worrying proposal.

If the proponents want a Walworth Plan then they should feel free to do so, but Walworth ends and Elephant begins - the idea the Ministry, the Tab, the DoH, perronette house, the Elephant and Castle leisure centre and St Mary's park are not in Elephant is obviously wrong, and planning policy that creates a border through our town centre, as defined by London Plan and SPD, and as I feel it as resident, would be bad for it's development.
Saturday 22 March 2014 6.22pm
I have emailed them to point out that as a resident of the Rockingham I certainly do not feel that the area by Kennington Park is my neighbourhood and that you can't call it "Elephant and Castle" if you leave out most of it including the roundabout. How they think they can engage with people and get them interested if they create an entirely arbitrary slice of London and call it a neighbourhood.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 10.20pm
Just back from Community Council. The proponents of the forum gave a presentation. They were asked to explain the boundary instead they chose to emphasise all the good things a forum could do - a delightful dodge of the key issue being consulted on at this stage. Prior to the presentation I asked the hard working forum initiator Jerry Flynn "what if an area adjacent to the area defined had lots of people asking to join in, e.g. Perronet House next to the roundabout and your boundary cutting the Elephant in half" and was told "sorry, too late, we're too busy too full, create your own". To which I asked "so why not change your name, so you don't confuse people by describing yourself as representing the Elephant and Castle", to which the reply was "no, we like the name".

All but three of the 13 or so councillors (Adele Morris, David Noakes and Martin Seaton) gave fulsome backing to the proposed boundaries and had no concerns about the inaccurate choice of name.

So those concerned need to get busy. We were told that if we wanted to try and influence it - either making boundaries bigger, smaller or a name change - we should not just e-mail planning but also fiona.colley@southwark.gov.uk
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