Thursday 10 November 2005 8.35am
This will take place at 10.00am on Saturday 12 November.
This visit is primarily for the Lambeth Planning Committee to look at the site so that they have better understanding of the papers when they get to Committee, but anyone can come along.
Sometimes, the Royal Festival Hall
being one example, they can be really interesting, with the architect describing the history of the site and building and current aspirations. They also provide a chance to ask questions, with Councillors present. Again with RFH, the plans included provision for disabled parking under the bridge next to the site. I asked what would happen to the skateboarders, given that the unintended skate park is a major attraction for a group who would not normally visit the cultural attractions of the South Bank, but had equal right to facilities. (OK my kids like watching them.) The response was that alternative provision would be provided on Jubilee Gardens
. Councillors went pale. And the skateboarders are still there.
The actual Committee is quite formal, with procedures set out in planning law. If residents are worried that their new homes will be
less attractive than before, or concerned about what happens to them through the building process, or whatever being on site is a great way to both hear what the developers plan or get concerns across to Councillors.
Similarly I have heard different versions of what will happen to the very fine and intact row of plane trees to the north of Archbichops Park. This includes a proposal that some will have to be taken out, that they will be pollarded losing 60% of the tree, and so on. Elsewhere 'pruning' has turned into pretty savage cutting back. The planning committee has the power to apply clear conditions to planning permissons, and I am sure that a number of people would like this form of confirmation about what happpens to the trees.
The visit might also appeal to people interested in high density and high buildings. The scheme goes up to 20 storeys. Like the Doon Street
proposals, there is very little NEW social hosuing. Just replacement of the existing. The Ronald McDonald House is touted as a community benefit, yet my understanding is that it simply replaces provision that used to be at Guys until the childrens services switched to Thomas'.
A second park related interest is the proposals for a cafe. There is huge sup[port amongst local people, for a cafe in the park, which would also provide safe toilets. Various organisations, including Riverside Community Development Trust and the Camden Society, with support from Lambeth Social Services, spend £8,000 on getting a feasibility study done on the park keepers house and whether it could be turned into a cafe with safe toilets employing people who needed supported employment and training. The study was very positive, and it is a great opportunity. However, though Lambeth Parks were fully aware of the work - progress was reported at every steering group - the building was turned over to the grounds maintenance contractors even before the feasibility study was completed. Lambeth Parks have failed to even inform partner organisations.
The development includes plans for a cafe. Given a cafe with a park attached would be much more viable, and given that the developers will have to put aside some planning gain money into the park, it would be great if the two aspirations could be aligned, so either the parkkeepers house is released for use as a cafe as soon as the ground contractors current lease runs out (5 years) or that the development includes a cafe fronting the park.