Monday 27 May 2002 6.30am
Ha. Some people might say it is a bribe developers pay Councils in order to get planning permission. And a big issue in SE1 where there is a lot of it.
Also called Section 106 it relates to an idea that local people should not lose out by development. Every development should produce a 'planning gain'. So when a big development happens the developer usually has to promise to build social housing ( or give the Council money to build it) improve the immediate environment (which is why we got a £350,000 roundabout at Lambeth Bridge
) or put money into traffic management, green space, schools or other local facilities.
The problem happens when a Council has not got an immediate plan for money for money flowing from a development. Rather than delay the development they agree the sum and a say they will come up with somethng within, say, a seven year period. Waterloo Community Development Group
calculated last year that there was probably £7-8 million from County Hall
and nearby that Lambeth had not collected and which was about to be lost. The Lambeth planning official at the meeting did not dispute this! Plus the I understand the three year temporary permission for the London Eye
contained virtually no provision for planning gain, yet the crouds has cost the local authority ( eg us) a fortune in street cleaning, coach management, illegal vendor control and more.
The reason I am such an anorack on this is that two years ago local mums got together to fight South Bank Employer Group proposals to build a tennis centre on Archbishops Park, the largest in SE1. The scheme would have been paid for by by Section 106 plus regeneration money (which South Bank Employers Group administer).
We have spent the last two years trying to get the Council to allow us to put together a management plan to improve the park as it is, rather than build. We do need good quality green space in and amongst all the buildings. The idea was that Lambeth would then have a community endorsed plan to soak up some of the money they were in danger of handing back to developers. Plus since Lambeth have failed to negotiate a new lease on the park, the green space remains in danger.
Sounds sensible but........two years later after we raised £35,000 the Coucil have finally given us the go ahead and the brief is out for tender. But the endless quibbling goes on.
Perhaps the hotel group would get on side with us. They push Lambeth and the Developers to put their money into our park (which is only 3 minutes away and which was used by County Hall
workers in their lunch break ) and a suitable memorial put in the park, alongside the children's playground so the next generation of both office workers and children do not forget what they owe.
Sorry James about the longest ever post. But the whole sorry story is worth broadcasting.