Help: New development disaster

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Sunday 13 November 2005 8.49am
Leigh Hatts has written about the Founders Place planning site visit site visit yesterday.

He was wrong in one respect. The boundary of trees to the north of the park, are within in the park, and seriously at risk. This will change the whole green and private nature of the park. Instead we will have the standard SE1 vista of new and expensive flats.

This is serious. It is easily the biggest threat to the park for over 100 years. I was present when the Conservative Councillor was questioning Lambeth's tree officer. The boundary of trees directly overlooking the park will be lost. The are to be 'trimmed' to up to 60%, plus there will be real disturbance to their roots from digging the foundations. All standards, from what the developers were saying met environmental minimum standards. But old trees need more careful treatment. She was clearly very shocked.

Looking from the side of the Buddhist temple it was clear how close the balconies were. People would not tolerate the level of disruption caused by leaves and branches on thier balconies.

The planning decision will be considered on Thursday. Lambeth recommend approval. I assume we can:

1. ask as many people to come along to the planning committee Franklin Wilkins Building, Kings College, Stamford Street, SE1 for 7.00 pm on Thursday 17 November. I need the help of all of you who are concerned about the unrelenting march of developpment in SE1. Plus those whose interests are more focussed on cider.

2. Advice on how I might seek an emergency listing on the park.

3. What else can be done, for example lobbying to the GLA. (Though I suspect they are more interested in the amount of social housing.)

Many many thanks,

Sarah
PS Unsurprisingly I did not spot anyone from the current Friends of Archbishops Park Committee at the site visit. Presumably, like Councillors, actually seeing what the impact of the development will be is not of much interest.

Monday 14 November 2005 7.43am
Can someone (Rabbie?) help me on the current status of the Lambeth UDP. Has the new UDP been adopted? If so where can I get the language on Archbishops?

I followed the whole process through to the enquiry stage, and it looked as if we were going to get some very good language on the park and in particular the trees. Important as the green boundary is so important to the sense of a green oasis in the middle of a busy city.

Do you also know how I get hold of a copy of the planning officers report, where I understand the tree officer outlined the impact the development will have on the trees in the park next door. (Eg kill them.)

I'm also interested in what happens next, assuming that members of the Lambeth Planning Committee who were so obviously missing from the site visit, will be confident enough to follow the advice of their officers. I assume people like the GLA and ODPM are committed to things like green, at least in theory. Is there anyone there I, and others, could write to? Anyone else? CABE?

I know people are used to me rabbiting on about the park, but this one is important. A number of local 'stakeholders' have had their eye on the nicest piece of of green in the area. So far we have been able to head them off. But if this development goes ahead locla people, especially the least well off, pay a high price.

I have no particular objection to the hospital devloping land they own, but not at our expense. Bizarrely the huge number of private flats, which is the bit that will cause the problem, are needed to finance a redevelopment of hopital property which will give very little additional accomodation, reopens a nursery that was already there, and moves the Ronald McDonald House from Guys to Thomas'. It is almost as if the developers, who are a charitable foundation linked with Thomas' and Guys, have got lost in their own plans. They need to take a step back and recognise the needs of others.
Monday 14 November 2005 8.32am

Sarah,

Relevant part of Lambeth's site is here:

http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/HousingPlanning/Planning/UnitaryDevelopmentPlan.htm

Notwithstanding the fact that the tree officer was there, you quickest route is probably to try and get TPO's on the tree's themselves.

Regards,

Loafer
Monday 14 November 2005 9.14am
Dear Loafer,

Many thanks. Do you know how I get a tree preservation order done? Or better still would someone take this, and other bits, for me.

(I am completely overwhelmed with work this week, and only heard about the Planning Committee meeting through Rabbie's post on Friday. I am supposed to be out of town, but am hoping that I can rearrange my trip.)

The Friends Committee, now contains no founding members, with most of us asked to stand down or told we are not welcome. When the planning application first came up there was a view that the Friends should not oppose it, even though it was pretty clear that local people want their trees, and that this development will completely change the nature of the park. I was even told that I could not reply on an individual basis......

Given that the current Friends Committee have inherited the relationship with Lambeth and the right of consultation on the spending of the S106, as well as trhe healthy bank balance, it makes life very difficult for local people to compete with the clout of the hospital. Any help is really welcome.

The fact is most people probably don't object to the development per se. But don't understand why we should have to pay such a high price in terms of damage to our local environment. Why is it that community organisations such as Housing Associations and the NHS often prove to be the least sensitive to local opinion?

Tuesday 15 November 2005 8.41am
This is becomming a bit of a Sarah only post....some encouragement would be brilliant especially as the proposals are a real shocker!

The good news is that the local MP, Kate Hoey, is on side and plans to come along to the Planning meeting. She is normally very supportive of the Hospital, but says that greedy developers are greedy developers whoever they are. (Not an exact quote, but that was the gist. I was pretty stunned by the fact that my MP was phoning me take it all in.)

The truth is that we are all expected to pay a huge cost for very little extra provision for our local hospital.

I can't quite remember what the developer is called. It used to be the hospital's charitable foundation, but now St Thomas' is a foundation hospital they have had to change their name. They are independent of each other. I tend to suspect that in trying to get a package together, the leaders of the whateveritis have got carried away with themselves and lost track of the bigger picture. The hospital is an important stakeholder in the area, and most people are supportive of the idea of accomodation for staff etc. However they are not the only stakeholder and they should respect residents interests as well.

This time round they have not got a developer on board, and are seeking the planning permission on their own. I assume that they want to get together an obviously profitable package in order to encourage a private sector partner to come forward.

It was pretty clear that noone will build flats incredibly close to huge trees. Residents would not be able to use their balconies for fear that Tufty the squirrel might bite them on the nose. (It is surprising they have no gone the whole hog and asked to build tree houses.) My guess is that with permission in hand and a developer on board, they would be back to the Planning Committee to say that since the trees are going to die anyway can they chop them down.

Local Councillors have an automatic right to speak at planning meetings:

Councillors are:
CDParry@lambeth.gov.uk
ptruesdale@lambeth.gov.uk
cfParry@lambeth.gov.uk

and the local MP is:

Hoeyk@parliament.uk

Councillors and MPs act when it is clear that an issue is of general concern to local people. Where the park stands has been open space since the Ethelred the Unready's sister sold it to the Monks of Rochester, over a Millennium ago. 150 years ago the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association was formed in the first instance to ensure that inner city children continued to have access to the Archbishops garden as it was then, and Gladstone was enlisted to the cause, which was also supported by Octavia Hill, who played a huge role in helping improve the lives of the poor in our area. (The Red Cross Garden was refurbished with the support of the Octavia Hill Society, and David Bellamy planted some Octavia Hill variety roses in Archbishops earlier in the year.) The Friends of Archbishops Park, with the strong support of people from the forum, succcessfully lobbied for the 100 year lease to be renewed.

We still need green and calm. Not views of expensive flats and their balconies. Especially as so few of us have gardens. The idea that this need, and the integrity of the land, is sacrificed so that the hospital can have 20 additional flats is awful. In a conservation area, with English Heritage actively considering whether the park should appear on its register of historic parks and gardens.

Rant over. But we only have till Thursday, so get going......
Tuesday 15 November 2005 10.28am
Keep fighting, Sarah.

Have you found the info about TPOs on the ODPM website here?
Wednesday 16 November 2005 12.18pm
BUMP

Have done enough research to have a strong case in terms of Lambeth's environment, biodiversity. But I am told that at this stage, with a planning officers recommendation to approve, the best chance of overturning that approval is if lots of people turn up.

So come along. Drinks afterwards?

Many thanks,

Sarah
Wednesday 16 November 2005 2.03pm
Well-timed bump Sarah - I have been away for a few days and nearly missed this completely .. hope to be along to the meeting on Thursday.
Wednesday 16 November 2005 5.28pm
This needs as many people as possible who love the greenery of Archbishops Park to turn up on Thursday night and show their objections.

The Council's tree officer had serious reservations about the pruning needed to the trees on the northern boundary to allow construction, and the pressure for constant pruning that would come from owners of the new flats that would have balconies less than 2m from the tree canopy. Nevertheless, Lambeth's planners are recommending that this scheme gets the go ahead.

The experience of too many developments in Lambeth and Southwark is that the trees have been uprooted during construction. We can't allow this to happen here.

The "Founders Place planning application will be heard at a special meeting of Lambeth's planning committee to be held at 7.00pm on Thursday 17th November at King's College's
Franklin Williams Building in Stamford Street.

Agenda

Planning Application report (also includes the adjacent proposals for Becket House and the former Florence Nightingale pub)


Thursday 17 November 2005 10.11am
Hi, This needs more bumping. The post has brought support from people connected with the Green Party and wth the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. But we have been given details of the impact of development far too late. If anything is to be done, we need to demonstrate local concern by bums on seats. (Though emails to Councillors in advance of tehdecision will do no harm.)

Throughout the Forum there are posts about inappropriate development. Ok this one is in my backyard, but success here will help pass the message that developper profit should not come ahead of local need.

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