You may remember from last year we, the local community around Long Lane / Empire Square, are protesting an obscene 15 storey building currently in planning application stage with Southwark Council. The proposed development at 74-84 Long Lane is being protested against due to:
- Proximity to existing homes (5m away!)
- 15 storeys
- Co-living i.e. student halls type accomodation
- No affordable housing
- Lack of consultation from developers, and
- Lack of consideration for key workers in adjacent building.
On Saturday 13 January - this Saturday - at 11am we will be holding a small demonstration outside the Rug Factory on 74-84 Long Lane with local Councillors and media. We would love it if as many of you who feel opposed to this development could make it along and support us. Refreshments will be provided afterwards in the lobby of Empire Square at 34 Long Lane.
I live in the social housing in Empire Square - the new tower is going to be five meters from me and block all the daylight to all windows to mine and many, many other flats. Empire Square has social housing of all types and quite a lot of it to be honest - whether social rents, key worker or shared ownership.
The proposed development is scandalous. No social housing at all. Just very, very high rents with a likely high turnover of occupiers who will not be happy with a co-living concept in the long-term. Short-term occupiers will likely not become part of our lovely local community. Wrong on so many levels.
I hope there is great support for the demonstration.
From Larry (southwark council tenant all my life until I became one of the tenants in Empire Square and now housing association tenant!)
There’s already a building 5 metres from your home so this proposal does not change that. There are thus no grounds to object to the new one. The only time the proposed building could possibly shade your home is late afternoon/evening depending on the time of year. The existing building quite possibly already does this so there is no valid objection there either. Your own building probably blocks the new building from shading much further so no one else at Empire Square has grounds to object on this basis.
The proposed use is not housing as such, but is Sui Generis (to use the planning term). There is therefore no requirement to provide social or, what is often laughably called ‘affordable’ housing. Indeed, the co-living proposal probably does more to provide reasonably affordable accommodation (I’d not call the accommodation ‘homes’) for a wide range of people, including for key workers than any other sort of development could. The turnover of residents and whether or not they may become beloved members of the community isn’t relevant in planning terms. No grounds to object there then.
I'm afraid you are wrong on that point - I and many others have nothing in front of our windows currently as the proposed new building is much higher and then higher and deeper than the one that is there now. We will therefore be losing all natural light that we currently have.
I didn't mention planning when it came to the community points I made, but I still think it is important when speaking about SE1 and our local area which I think this forum and website is about. I believe affordable housing is important and has kept me in the area that me and my family have lived in all our lives. I know that shared ownership is almost impossible now in London due to the amount property prices have increased, but social rents are really important and, if I have to lose my daylight, I would rather lose it to a social housing scheme or a working building - like it always has been. I'm hoping this scheme doesn't get the green light and they come up with a different way of using the plot and keeping some of the older parts of the current building which are really quite attractive.
Have no fear Larry, boroughbloke will have a good day. You wont be able to miss him, he will be standing there on his own waving his 'anti-nimbyism' banner in a most militant manner. So much so that it will cause you to wonder how one person on their own can cause such an uproar.
Or maybe not.
Have you looked at the drawings? I have. The idea that you would loose 'all natural light' is, put bluntly absurd. The proposals will create a condition that is not that dissimilar from the current condition at the other end of Empire Square where the tower is. Actually, that condition is arguably worse since the Empire Square block to the east of the tower does not step back at all. The newly proposed tower does step back over most of its height. Only part of it at the Long Lane side rises to 14 floors. The so called 15th floor is a small plant room. Sat to the north side of your building, this tower could only possibly shade you from direct sun if the Earth turned upside down. I think you’d agree that is unlikely to happen.
This is not to say that the new building will not have an impact on how much indirect sunlight you receive, but that is the way it is, I’m afraid. We have a government that is beholden to the nimbies of the home counties, and since they won’t allow the city to spread out then it only has one way to go; up.
The assertion that the new building is 5 metres away from the buildings of Empire Square is largely false too. One extreme corner is, perhaps, this far away the remainder tapers away to the north making Southall Place at least twice as wide as it is now where it meets Long Lane. Incidentally, this part of the building only rises to three storeys on this line. For the most part it is much further away than the building to the north side of my own home. That rises to three storeys too.
I stress again that the proposed building does provide high quality accommodation that will be considerably more affordable than anything other than renting a room in a shared house for a huge number of single people, who could arguably never otherwise afford to live in the area. Where would you prefer these single people, who cannot afford to rent their own flat, never mind buy a house, and short of personal calamity will never qualify for social housing, live? At least this accommodation will not be largely owned by foreign investors and left mostly empty.
I wouldn't bother going out and waving a banner about something so inconsequential as the proposed development on Long Lane. That does not mean I don't have an opinion on the wider issue, which is providing somewhere half decent and affordable for people to live in. This development does just that.
I don't for a minute expect to dissuade you from making ill-informed comments, as I can see you are the top ranking keyboard warrior on this Forum.
But I do wish to point out a few things - mainly to give my support to all those who are making an effort to remind the planning team of their responsibilities, and to raise awareness amongst locals.
You don't know your Compass Rose. Empire Square will never cast a shadow on the proposed new development - not until the earth's orbit and rotation pattern change significantly.
The Empire Square tower casts shadow on the remaining Empire Square development only and they were built concurrently; one would have had a choice when considering buying or renting property in the development. Its distance from existing properties is about 5 times that of the development in question.
There are rules, written by Southward planners in line with government policy, regarding vicinity, loss of sunlight and and loss of daylight. I can lend you copies of all planning tools / guidelines publications. All we want is for Southward to respect these. The existing building is three storey high, not 15. We do not object new developments, but they should follow good planning guidelines.
The reason the proposed new development is now tapering away slightly from the boundary of Empire Square is because of our direct action - if you check the first issue elevations and plans visible on the planning portal, you will see that it didn't taper at all. I can lend you the 3D visualisations that we prepared and that exposed the scam at the recent consultations, so you can see for yourself the before & after effect of our efforts.
But it's still not enough and it still breaks the rules.
This monstrosity would not affect me particularly, but I would like you to be the one who explains in person to the single mother with two kids in one ground floor apartment, and the wheelchair bound lady next door, both with just two windows facing into the eastern empire square boundary,why it is acceptable that their view of a 3 meters perimeter wall adorned with green leafs (belonging to the old rugs factory) with daylight aplenty coming from above, will be replaced with a 45 meters tall wall which will negate any daylight other than what can sneak through a long, dark alley.
Over to you, we are bracing ourselves for further soap-box deliveries.