Founder's Place consultation

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Monday 31 January 2005 9.15am
The Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation appear to have found a new partner and are now pressing ahead with plans for Founders Place - essentially the land north of Archbishops Park to Westminster Bridge Road (give or take an office building or two).

This is important for those who value the areas green spaces. The development will come right up to the park and will, the developers eventually conceded, require the felling or cuting back of some of the Parks lovely boundary of mature trees. The accomodation fronting the park will be largely private flats, and the buildings will be quite tall. The hospital is making great play about the extra office and clinical space there will be. Plus a Ronald MacDonald House for the families of sick children, a rebuilt nursery. Apparently there will be 45 or so new units of social housing and the replacement of the equisting social and key worker accomodation. The old Victorian School, now a Buddhist Centre, will be demolished.

The developers only provided a view from the far corner of the park so it is difficult to have a complete idea of the impact of the building from sitting in, say, the childrens playground. But it pretty certain that with the loss of trees, the height of the buildings and so on, there will be a real impact on the park and its green, historic, and private feel.

There is no indication of how much S106 will come into the park. Figures bandied around a year or so back were about 150,000. Though it now looks as if the developers are offering a new pedestrian crossing over Lambeth Palace Road, the 45 new units, plus an outpatients clinic facility, so it does not look hopeful.

There will be a public exhibition in the Central Hall of St Thomas' Hospital as follows:
Sat 5 Feb, 1.00pm - 5.00pm
Mon 7 Feb, 2.00 - 8.00pm
Tues 8 Feb, 2.00 - 8.00pm

On a personal level my disappointment is that the development will be providing private play facilities for use by the different groups of residents and workers. Yet despite better play provision in Archbishops (at the moment we only have provision for 0-5s and much of this equipment is 15 years old and barely meeting health and safety standards) being a high priority for local families, our 37 page Waterloo Project Board SRB bid failed last autumn. The NHS Trust were represented on the appraisal panel.

Lambeth have now told us that they see football as a higher priority than play and that they will not countenance further bids for play equipment until funding for a new football pitch has been achieved.

Put simply, it will be difficult for local kids to feel valued if they can see hospital kids with their brand new playground whilst medical students play on a nice new football pitch, whilst they are supposed to make do with a few items of aging toddler equipment. And at the same time they will lose the scope to be in the park, surrounded by green, and feel away from the centre of the city.
Tuesday 1 February 2005 10.36am
Gosh, what a grim tale. You are right that this is simply discrimination against small people, who cant protest, who cant get up and TRAVEL to their playground as the med. students can to their football, and in any case the amount of time they can actually get out there and play footie instead of passing their exams is questionable. And such a plethora of new tall buildings! To whom does one make representation? This city is going to be concreted over before we can blink.
Wednesday 2 February 2005 6.13am
Jackie,
Its all part of the planning game. The developer asks for more than they think they can get away with. It is up to the community to protest that such plans are not in the interests of the area, and hope that the Local Authority will protect. However if they do the developer can go to appeal, to Ken and then on to John Prescott.

And they can always submit a new planning application at any stage. Eg the hotel on Albert Embankment is nearly completed, but has now asked for permission for an extra six stories. At the time there was real public unhappiness because part of the hotel is on green space (ALbert Embankment Gardens) which is now "leased" to the developer. (The developer promised us that the "community" would still be welcome to picnic there, and even some members of Lambeth Parks are tempted.....though by the time the hotel is finished I suspect not enough of us will remember, or indeed care.)

The main problem being that throughout this process 'the community' remains unresourced and dependent on volunteer activity and money.

I don't know if the developer plans are anywhere on the internet and their 'newsletter' obviously fails to highlight the fact that some of the trees will have to go, how high the buildings will be, and perhaps, that a couple of corners of the park will have to be lost. But it does give some indication of the extent that the development will overshadow what currently feels like a really private piece of green. (The largest park in SE1.)

The current consultation is being done by the developers. Planners like them to test local views before they submit plans. If enough people participate, email etc they may be persuaded to revise them before they submit a planning application. If they don't we have to go through the same process and object to the planning applicaiton and to every stage thereafter.

A similar thing needs to be done with local plans (Unitary Development plans, and Local Planning Frameworks). Again a difficult and technical process, but again it looks as if a couple of corners of the park are being 'unzoned'. (One for Rabbie - the some of the Stangate Triangle replacement land seems to have dropped off - so far I have had to provide Lambeth with four copies of the objection, plus protest in two public meetings and confirm that I want to appear at the planning tribunal before my objections have been acknowledged. Apparently they were misfiled .)

Part of the problem with this one is that the hospital Foundation is the developer. St Thomas' is a powerful local stakeholder. This may give us more locus to get them to take a more considered approach, but they are also very focussed on the money they can get to flow into hospital facilities. And they will argue that this money constitutes public gain as well, which therefore compensates us for the loss of green.

If anyone is concerned it is worth emailing the developers planning consultants samantha.sen@ppsgroup.co.uk. To make sure concerns are heard I would also copy the local ward councellor ptruesdale@lambeth.gov.uk . We have not been able to consult park users, but I am almost certain that people will not want to see the trees go or be chopped in any way, whilst the green space lobby will be unhappy if, as the plans suggest, that we are losing bit of park.

We as a group need help.....it is such hard work. And, as we all know this is only one of a large number of development in the area. In my street alone last year we had three phone mast applications, one of which went to appeal and another was 'retrospective', whilst friends who live in Lower Marsh said they had many more. Yet the Government is keen to speed up and modernise the planning process......

Early morning rant over.
Wednesday 2 February 2005 6.30am
Gosh, tell me about iti! I'm on the warpath continually on these matters as you know. Will email my views and also when I get back to UK will go and look at the site and get REALLY wound up....UGH! Corporate GREED will swallow us all.
Wednesday 2 February 2005 7.42am
Further to my last posting, DO read the Times of today, Weds, "Prescott's House of Cards"...it says it ALL
Wednesday 2 February 2005 8.58am
Happy to show you, or anyone else, around. But it is as important to walk round places like the Ethelreds estates where local kids grow up.

There are regular posts on the forum, especially in summer, about kids hanging out and causing trouble. Yet it is up to us to make sure that their needs are put on the agenda and that they do have somewhere appropriate to go.

The Waterloo area had 19 million of Government money to spend on regneration and to combat local deprivation. We worked for four years to put together a professional management plan for the park, lobby landowners for tenure on the land, and to write a bid for accessible play facilities for 5-12 year olds. This would only have taken 150,000 out of the 19 million, and would have made an obvious difference to the lives of children and their parents, yet we were turned down.

The SRB Board has failed to come back to us on why our bid failed, but we hear things about us as a group not attending enough local meetings, not having enough 'capacity', and not having enough 'strategic vision'. This year is the last year of the fund, so it looks as if we have lost our opportunity altogether.

Prescott may have his failings, and so do developers, but if we as a community cannot protect the interests of those with least, our failings are at least equal to theirs.

Tuesday 8 February 2005 9.15am
I went to the Founders Place exhibition hidden deep in St Thomas'. Unfortunately the people there were not able to confirm the view I had previously had from their tree expert that some trees would have to go and others would have to be trimmed back. They were uncertain about the number of NEW units of affordable housing but it seemed some way short of Ken's 50%. There seemed to be a lot of calls on S106, which suggests there would be little or nothing for the park. (Lambeth want improved access under the railway arches which is not unreasonable in itself - but I want a playground!)

The consultation questionaire, as is the way with these things, had a number of motherhood and applepie type questions. Yes affordable housing is good, yes accommodation for the families fof sick children is good. But losing the green nature of the biggest park in the area is a high price to pay.

If people are interested the developers will be presenting to the Waterloo Community Development Group on Wednesday at 7.00pm. WCDG is diagonally opposite the Old Vic. You go through a small wooden gate to the left of the Waterloo Action Centre. I may see you there......
Tuesday 8 February 2005 2.02pm
sarah2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I went to the Founders Place exhibition hidden
> deep in St Thomas'.

For anyone planning to visit this afternoon/evening - follow the signs for South Wing. Central Hall is the Victorian space that you come next to the South Wing staircase.
Tuesday 8 February 2005 7.28pm
I'm less pessimistic than Sarah about this scheme.

1. It is undoubtedly a great improvement on the previous one, which presented a wall of buildings to the Park - there are four relatively low "fingers" of building. and the development is stepped with the tallest elements being two residential towers - one replacing the current brick tower (Stangate House?) and a smaller one close to the railway

2. This doesn't appear to require losing any park trees (possibly some inside the Buddhist centre???) and replants the trees on the strip of Lambeth owned land alongside Lambeth Palace Road.

BUT...

1. The approach to the Park from Carlisle Lane will be less obvious - you won't be able to see the trees of the Park from the north - what will be the point of tarting up the railway arches if your destination isn't obvious. They have to offer Lambeth some money to improve and open up the approaches to the park from Carlise Lane.

2. IMO the health facilities in this development will only work if TfL agree to an extra pedestrian crossings on LPR between the new entrance to the Evelina Childrens Hospital and the new Ronald McDonald House and patient hotel. Is that compatible with the vehicle movements into A&E?

3. There is a new "pedestrian street" south of Royal Street. I think that there is a danger that this will be completely dead,

4. Similarly, if there are "key worker" flats at ground floor facing Upper Marsh, this will do nothing to bring the route from Lower Marsh under the railwat back into use.

5. There will be a new shop (mini supermarket sized?) under the tower. There is also a plan for a small neighburhood shop next to a new staff nursery. I suspect that this shop would be doomed to fail being invisible from outside the development.

6. The scheme is much less interesting than it could be, because it can't make any assumptions about what will happen to the site immediately to the north east and currently used for car parking. I don't know whether this is owned by Network Rail or London & Continental Railways, but its future is presumably linked to any redevelopment of the Eurostar terminal.

Would the owners ever try for planning permission for an office development straddling "over the tracks" on the whole site between Carlisle Lane and Upper Marsh???
Wednesday 9 February 2005 11.56pm
As anyone at the open meeting tonight will know, I'm less concerned about the scheme itself which I think is as good as can be, provided concerns about protected tenants are appropriately resolved. I'm really disgusted by the fact that the accommodation block for parents of sick children, opposite St Thomas' hospital will have a big sign above the door saying 'Ronald McDonald House' I swear irony was lost on the heavyweights of Guys and St Thomas Foundation Trust rolled out last night, including Sir Jonathan Michael, the Chief Executive. If they pursue this nomenclature, they will face a PR disaster on a titanic scale (pun unintended). I suggest anyone with a similar viewpoint canvasses the Trust via the website
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