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Digging out Basements in Ufford St

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Tuesday 9 June 2015 11.49am
All this talk of dormer windows in a distraction from the real issue of digging out basement. Interestingly I believe that 'thebunhouse' uses the phrase 'nod and wink'correctly when touching on Lambeth's apparent lack of commitment to the Conservation Area ethos that its suppose to protect.
An 'affected' neighbour has been enquiring if Lambeth have yet received a planning permission application on the property concerned. She is being told 'no'. However, a different official 'let slip' that a 'pre-planning permission' application was sent at the end of May 2015 (over 2 weeks ago). When ask why this wasn't made public she was told that 'pre-planning applications' are private and not for publication; That these are preliminary discussions between the potential planner and the council.
So, effectively local neighbours are kept in the dark (unless you have dormer windows!) about potential projects that may impact on their lives.
Also there is much talk of prospective 'planners' and 'those in the know' moving in ever-closer 'social circles'. It appears that there is a potential for much 'back-scratching'!
Tuesday 9 June 2015 12.16pm
Rev David Pape wrote:
... the real issue of digging out basement. ...

Why is the problem with work that is invisible when finished?

I've heard the subsidence/marshy land points raised above, but surely any successful application would have to deal with these concerns.

Other than that, I can also sympathise a heck of a lot with the inconvenience to neighbours, but living next to a building site is a problem that we all share in SE1. I know people who've had constant building work affecting their daily life for over a year, and it's been awful for them, but we need more living space here.

The 1901 cottages are lovely, but since we're not sleeping 10 to a room in 2015, these two-up two-down houses aren't ever really going to be all that suitable for families. Is it preferable that they adapt to allow families to live there, bringing a bit of mix to the community, or should they stay preserved and impractical?

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 12.50pm
Albeit that it may not be visible from the front elevation, such work is not invisible when finished.

Inconvenience aside, this isn't about preserving something that is impractical. The properties are perfectly practical for those who live in them and those who need a two-up, two-down. There is plenty of family housing around these parts for those who can afford the hefty price tags ascribed to them - which clearly the people seeking to dig a basement can. A family looking for a four-bed house ought to go and buy one of those properties rather than buying a cottage.

Personally, I don't feel that we do need more living space here. What we need is more affordable housing.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 1.08pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
Personally, I don't feel that we do need more living space here. What we need is more affordable housing.

I'd see the two as having a large area of overlap. And I'd definitely say that the area would be improved by a greater Balance of long-term families to short-term single renters.

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 1.22pm
Without being unnecessarily argumentative, I don't see the two as at all linked. People seeking housing which is affordable in the true sense of the word don't buy two-bedroom cottages with the intention of pumping them up into mansion houses.

I'll be corrected by OHRA and others more in the know, but my understanding is that the residents of Ufford Street are in the main long term residents with protected tenancies and therefore don't fall into the category of "short-term single renters".

The "improvements" sought have the hallmarks of a similar Lambeth planning application relating to Rectory Gardens in Clapham SW4. These properties were "short-life" housing co-op properties which housed normal people for over 40 years. From rundown beginnings these people single-handedly, and with no assistance from the council, set about refurbishing the properties and the land itself and lived there happily for over 40 years. In recent years, as property prices have risen dramatically, Lambeth Council then turned its attention to the likely worth of these properties which previously they had written off as being unfit for habitation. They then set about forcibly evicting the residents who had made it a home. These properties are similar to Ufford Street in size and type, albeit perhaps a little older. They are now being sold on the open market for vast sums of money. Someone recently made an app for planning permission to pump one of the properties up from a two-bed into a four-bed house. Thankfully planning permission was refused(see ]here ), but it doesn't help the people who gave way to allow these yuppies to occupy their homes. Some comments which would be applicable to Ufford Street include things like:

"[These] houses are unique in character. These houses have 2 bedrooms and only a very small garden, to allow it to be changed to a 4 bedroom house is gross over-development. Granting permission for this proposal to go ahead could open the door for huge changes to an architecturally very important part of local history - these houses, up till the present day have remained almost unchanged since they were built. If these changes are allowed to be made to this house, Lambeth Council will be allowing the destruction the unique character of these wonderful houses."

"There are potentially knock-on effects to the structures of neighbouring buildings, and to the drainage systems serving them..."
Tuesday 9 June 2015 2.00pm
My comment about short-term single renters wasn't referring to Ufford St. I have no idea who lives there. It was referring to the overwhelming majority of new living spaces being built in SE1. Sorry if that was confusing.

It appears that your objection is to keep out "yuppies" and protect "normal people". Besides wondering who will decide who falls into which category, and assuming it's desirable, I wonder how we could possibly achieve that in SE1 nowadays.

LA properties continue to be sold off. New flats/houses are too expensive for "normal" people and too small for many families. What's the solution if we want a mixed community with a reasonable Balance of families?

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 2.31pm
The use of quotation marks is otiose in your response, Ivanhoe. Invariably mortgage companies in granting mortgages decide who falls into which category.

You are conflating my two separate - but related - points. My objection is not to keep yuppies out and protect normal people. In the case I cited, the "normal people" (your emphasis this time) had been forcibly removed to make way for the yuppies.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 2.56pm
It's interesting how Ivanoe knows 'people who've had constant building work affecting their daily life for over a year', and how 'it's been awful for them' - I take it he doesm't have a building site next door himself?
He might be surprised to know that the people of Ufford St are living in sound and reasonably modern and 'appropriate' accomodation and no long live 10 to a room!
Gavin Smith makes a full and appropriate response, for which I am grateful.
These HOMES were never meant to be mansions for the well-to-do and baically these changes hit a the heart of a well-established and happy community. Many are being converted for the sake of quick profits and will be quickly sold on.
Ivanhoe also says -

'I've heard the subsidence/marshy land points raised above, but surely any successful application would have to deal with these concerns'.

Planning permission was given to a recent conversion project in Ufford St within 24 hours of the closing date for objections - did Lambeth Council really and fully consider the objections made on that occasion? Did they investigate complaints from neighbours who had experienced considerable inconvenience and even damage to their own homes from similar projects?
Once work is done it may take a while before problems and the consequences of these changes are experienced. Who will be held to account? New owners who've since sold the house on? Builders who've since gone into bankruptcy? Council officials who've moved on?
Tuesday 9 June 2015 3.05pm
OK guys. I think I'm raising reasonable points...you don't.

Before we all get to being uncharitable, let's leave it at that.

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 3.13pm
Hehe. I'm not. I enjoyed the digging into my profile history - I found it neither noisy nor disruptive and it certainly didn't have a detrimental effect.

My old underused profile (CJG) has seemingly gone. Little prompts me to give an insignificant two pence on the internet. Every now and again I'm weak, though. All the best.
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