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Social Cleansing in Southwark

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Thursday 30 October 2014 9.26pm
Merlin Rouge,

I would be extremely surprised if any of the open areas within the Rockingham Estate and indeed other estates in SE1 are afforded any special protection whatsoever.

Many of these open areas comprise of tarmac parking areas and other low-grade residual areas between blocks - not high-grade landscape amenity.

Don't forget that if one were to measure the density of habitable rooms on these estates in terms of the plot ratio for the whole estate, most would fall some way short of the density that the Victorians achieved in the soi disant 'slums' which were demolished to make way for the estates. I also think that some of the post-war era low-rise two-storey houses in these estates look very incongruous in Central London and stand as relics of the period when London was effectively de-populated after the war.

What I expect to happen over the next few years is that SE1 estates will be prioritised to maximise land value and development potential. This will include a mixture of infil development on empty sites or garages and careful, selective demolition of some blocks. Arguments such as poor energy efficiency, high cost of repairs will be cited to facilitate demolition.

I doubt if the Council were ever again comprehensively demolish an entire estate such as the Heygate. Instead, a combination of 'slow-burn' infil development and partial demolition will be employed.
Thursday 30 October 2014 10.01pm
Floodplain, would you envisage any social housing in these infill sites?
Saturday 1 November 2014 9.23am

Yes - I definitely would - subject of course to those homes being prioritised to low-paid workers who are British citizens with local connections.

I'd also want to mix it up a bit and get some shared ownership and market units inside those estates too.

Ideally each infil block would contribute via S106 to a general estate fund to improve the amenity and landscaping within the wider estate - I think if properly managed it could be a force for good.
Monday 3 November 2014 2.49pm
The protection of estate open amenity spaces is provided for by the Nnational Planning Policy Framework without the critera of being 'high' grade which is fortunate when spaces have been neglected and run down but remain highly valued by proximal residents.

The 10sqm per child requirement is also used to justify retaining open spaces however I expect that will not be enforced and vanish.

Our estates already contain leasehold units and a great many of those come up on the market so the estates have become more mixed.

By using our own land on estates to provide market homes for sale,shared ownership and homes affordable at 80% of market etc what we are doing is reducing the best opporunity to maximise homes at rents people on the min wage and LLW can genuinely afford.

Meanwhile, we allow other projects to deliver 100% homes for sale. Or very low rates of provision.

So now we all have to squeeze onto high density development on the estates which was never the plan.

But floodplain's analysis is pretty much what is happening already.

Those acting to defend and protect open spaces try their best but of course the odds are stacked against us. Too often intensified estates do not get many other needs intensified to help make it all sustainable and even desirable.

If it was all done well, and done decently then it might be more welcome. That is unlikely to happen until there is a change of culture and practice in the council.

Once that change takes place I would expect more homes produced quicker because it will get harder to build on the estates once the 'easier' estates have been developed.

Projects have been lost because of very poor management by the council in the past too.

All these brakes to proving homes were recognised by the Council in its recent submission to London Plan update. Southwark saying it cant reach the Mayor's new homes target because the goings gonna get tough. And indeed it will if Officers continue to behave as they do.

The luxury developments can only proceed if Southwark's own land is mmaximised. We are subsidizing the luxury dedevelopments because the deals we strike are so awful.
Monday 3 November 2014 8.50pm

What you could do is come up with your own estate plan - get in there before the developers and come up with ideas for development sites, upgraded existing blocks and upgraded amenity. Get the plan incorporated into the local community planning forum. Lobby local Councillors for support.

Planning applications for landscaping carry very low application fees.....and you don't need to own the land to make the application. Speak to a local architectural firm that are willing to assist.

Basically, the more established your plan becomes, the more that the planners will have to take it into account.
Tuesday 4 November 2014 12.08am
Our estate has already been put through the options process three times and will finally complete c. 20M of repairs next year so it'll be a while before they circle back again.

The designs the council came up with were terrible and the appraisal badly bodged however it did help get the new council homes programme off to a better start. There was some learning.

It will take a change of culture and practice for the council to be able to collaborate with stakeholders rather than run amok and force communities into the hands of the lawyers which nowaways is very often the only effective way to resolve matters with the council when they go into silly-southwark mode.
Tuesday 25 November 2014 5.25pm
can't remember if the recent court case (aa vs london borough of southwark) was mentioned in other threads, but here's an update - really recommend you download the full briefing as it goes into fine detail of the ruling itself
Tuesday 25 November 2014 8.57pm
Typical council, trying to dilute/lessen the effect of the damning judgment. There's no way they would win on an appeal. The whole case from start to finish (i.e. Southwark's treatment of the claimant) was awful with irregularity after irregularity. Why doesn't Southwark just holds its hands up and try to put right its processes and procedures? I bet they've wasted a good deal (more) of taxpayers' money in getting counsel's advice on appealing!
Tuesday 25 November 2014 9.34pm
Pros - My take on this is that you're going to jump on any case decision that has gone against Southwark Council, regardless.

Reading the legal briefing, 'AA' certainly does not come across to as an individual of good character - so I really don't think this is helping your general argument.

For example:

'(AA) was convicted of assaulting two traffic wardens in 1994 but otherwise has no known outstanding convictions.' (note the use of 'no known' convictions)

'became embroiled in disputes arising out of the repossession of a car' (presumably because he didn't pay his bills)

'brought a civil action against the police but it was dismissed...unsuccessfully sued the DWP for defamation...brought cases in relation to his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Law Society.'
Tuesday 25 November 2014 10.23pm
Floodplain wrote:
'AA' certainly does not come across to as an individual of good character - so I really don't think this is helping your general argument.
From the judgement:
"Misfeasance in public office. Mr Davis, Ms Okwara and Ms Ashley exercised their powers as public officers in relation to a local authority secure tenancy for an improper motive. They each acted with the intention of harming AA be evicting him when there were no reasonable grounds for evicting him and by arranging for his possessions to be seized and destroyed unlawfully. Each is, in consequence liable for misfeasance in public office and LBS is vicariously liable for the commission of that tort."
But clearly AA deserved this for not being of such good character as yourself.
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