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White Cube Gallery on Recall site

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Wednesday 13 April 2011 11.51am
orione wrote:
People in Bermondsey street like to complain... a lot... I believe you are creating a dormitory out of that place. snip
You know what.. maybe that empty warehouse should be filled with more rabbit hole flats, would this please Bermondsey street residents??

It's unfortunate that a very vocal group of people in the area get very upset about various changes in the Bermondsey Street area whether it be the White Cube or the tall buildings talked about at the upper end of B Street and others then assume that it represents the general opinion of the locals.

I've lived on the street for 11 years and when I talk to my neighbours I've not met one who is against the Southwark Council strategy for tall buildings in the area and all have been enthusiastically in favour of the White Cube.

The problem of course is that people who feel aggrieved are far more likely to show up at meetings and post complaints on forums than people who are more sanguine about the changes. Not everyone on B Street is a NIMBY. While I think everyone has the right to state their point of view we need to be careful to not confuse the vocal group with the whole group.
Wednesday 13 April 2011 12.08pm
Again to state clearly - the people in Royal Oak Yard did not and do not oppose WC and welcome it - our issue was environmental impact on the yard - the issue is about a compactor and access to a yard - nothing to do with the gallery and it being on the Recall Street.

However - it has suited planning that the arguments focused on having WC or not - that was never the point we were making.

But as was stated last night 'so what if we make a decision that causes a mess as it is up to others to sort out'.

But last night was not about WC and being there or not - it was about the shameful nature of the planning process which contrary to the posted comments does not mean that objectors voices are heard. It is, like many other quasi-judicial functions, an adversarial process rather than inquisitorial. As I suspect many will find out in 15 years time (or less)... watch this space as they say ...
Wednesday 13 April 2011 1.06pm
Hi Frank do you have serious concerns about the fate of the place? Maybe i and others just do not forsee things. What could go badly there? Do you sense something specific? Could this not end up being just good art?
Wednesday 13 April 2011 1.33pm
frank peters wrote:
Again to state clearly - the people in Royal Oak Yard did not and do not oppose WC and welcome it - our issue was environmental impact on the yard... snip
it was about the shameful nature of the planning process which contrary to the posted comments does not mean that objectors voices are heard. snip ...

I don't want to be antagonistic, we are neighbours and could well find ourselves on the same side on other issues. I also feel that disagreeing on an issue (and we may not be disagreeing) still requires civility which is often lacking in these kinds of issues.

Is the situation that your voices weren't heard or was it that the council heard but felt that the issue was not something they had jurisdiction over as the area in question is privately owned?
Wednesday 13 April 2011 1.59pm
We're in Hestia House and our garden backs directly on to the main body of Royal Oak Yard. On the whole, I've been quite in favour of the WC development. As has been said here by many others it seems preferable to have a development that will involve minimal building work and the structure not being increased in height. BUT do these proposals to build a spray unit and such mean that we can expect ongoing noise and extra traffic in the yard on a permanent basis? One of the things I've always been charmed by is how peaceful the yard was despite being only a few steps from the bustle of Bermondsey Street. Again, not being a NIMBY, but just wanted some clarification from others who may know more detail...
Wednesday 13 April 2011 4.09pm
Having experienced the manner in which WC and Southwark have acted - yes I do have serious concerns.

The application was for planning permission to be granted to a company - and not to the building. So after 15 years (or sooner if WC decide to leave or go bust) the permission ceases and all reverts back to a warehouse use.

The application was also for opening hours up until 11pm and WC want to do fashion shows, etc. Nothing wrong with that as we have done fashion shows - not in the yard but in major city licensed venues. But they do involve music, sound, deliveries, catering, etc.

The application was for a compactor - that is a like a large recycling container that crushes things - to be placed in the yard. It requires vehicles to remove the rubbish. WC also applied to deliver with large lorries and claim they can turn in order to exit forward onto Bermondsey Street.

The simple fact is that this cannot be guaranteed, enforced, controlled or conditioned because it is a private yard and the rights reside with the residents and the freeholder. I know planning is not able to take private rights into account - so how can it set conditions? However - planning could have considered environmental impact and ask the applicant to make alternative arrangements - but the council decided an environmental impact assessment was not necessary as there would be no impact - catch 22. Better still WC could have listened and made what would be minimal alterations in the scheme of things to assist those who have supported their overall change of use and main application.

A base noise assessment - measuring the impact - was not carried out in the yard despite repeated requests - how can you assess loss of amenity without one.

A traffic report to measure volume was eventually done on 15 March - and as you all know this is well after work commenced when traffic had been increased due to construction.

The councils own traffic officer reported that if the yard was in public ownership - permission would not be granted.

As was stated last night at planning 'We have no objection to the gallery and welcome it. But this area is already a vibrant community - it does not need disruptive intervention - it requires sensitive development respecting the efforts and investment of people who have created a sustainable community - not just for 15 years'.

What was requested by the yard was:
A relocate the compactor within your 1 acre site
B use the other loading bays you have and not to create one in the yard
C put the cycle racks against the wall of your extension in the yard - access it from your main building and enclose the narrow passageway you are creating for reasons of personal safety of passers by in the yard

This was nothing about not liking art or change or progress or anything else.

Last night there was just 3 minutes to get all of this across - the applicant spent 2 minutes reeling off a list of famous artists exhibiting at WC. I believe planning has to be for the benefit of the community as a whole and not just for a borough's ego.
It is a pity that those in the yard were not given the opportunity to challenge many of the erroneous statements and assumptions made last night (after their 3 minutes) because they were not allowed to present contrary evidence.

More a case that the voices were heard for 3 minutes but nobody wanted to listen - it was more glamorous to discuss art - as can bee seen in news item on this site. The committee as is reported were delighted with the support from so many galleries - but planning is about listening to those who reside within 100 meters of the site.

Still as Nick Stanton said - it is up to us to now 'sweep up the mess' which we are now getting on with - but we will take a day off on 5 May when we have the opportunity to do some other clearing up.
Wednesday 13 April 2011 4.15pm
I think I read earlier that Royal Oak Yard is a private site i.e. not part of the public highway. If this is right, does the leaseholder of the Recall site have a right of access through Royal Oak Yard...? Or is there anything you can do to prevent access...??
Wednesday 13 April 2011 4.18pm
Frank, I'm curious to know if you spoke to the WC people directly and if so, were they open to finding mutually acceptable solutions or how would you characterise their response?
Wednesday 13 April 2011 4.59pm
White Cube hooray! Best thing to happen to the area for ages.
Wednesday 13 April 2011 5.11pm
Julia I agree.
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