Monday 2 April 2007 8.29am
This topic has been running for ever. At least five years. But we are almost at the end.
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The Planning Inquiry on the Founders Place development to the north of Archbishops Park is due to start on 17 April. The Inspector then advises the Secretary of State and, hey presto and after five years, a decision is made.
And it would be reasonable to say that much of the delay centres around the future of 12 trees in a public park. Unbelievable. Though as other threads about planning and development issues confirm, trees in public places are at risk.
This Inquiry is important. Not just for me but for the precedent it will create. Lambeth turned the original planning application down on conservation grounds. The development is within a conservation area whose stated aim is to protect the setting of the park. If they lose this appeal they and other Local Authorities will be very reluctant to defend on Conservation Area grounds again. (A bit like them losing the appeal for a 40 odd storey building by Vauxhall bridge, and lo and behold, 40 storeys becomes the norm.)
This planning decision, unlike Bermondsay Square, Borough Market
and elsewhere, is still to be made. Support is vital so we ensure that we draw a line in the sand to ensure a reasonable balance between conservation and development. (The developers can havce their developemnt, but they should leave our park alone.)
I would be happy to send anyone the evidence I have submitted on the long term future of the trees. I had generous pro-bono help from three senior tree experts, and the advice was unanimous. The trees might survive the development phase, but will not survive the post development pressure.