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Monday 4 October 2004 9.46am
I live opposite the Jam Factory and over the last couple of years have received a number of letters from Southwark's Planning and regeneration department stating that planning permission had been sought for various developments on the JF site and inviting me to make comment. I have often taken them up on the offer but never had a phone call answered, a message returned or letter or email replied to.

I have no objection to the JF itself; my protests have always been about the same thing, namely that the notices I receive always come long after the building has started. On saturday I got two more. I have now been asked to comment on whether the Council should grant permission for the five story live/work block with parking for 136 cars. The thing is, it's already half built. I can see it, all five floors of it at the end of Rothsay Street. Am I missing something? Shouldn't any debate about planning permission take place before work starts?
Monday 4 October 2004 11.28am
Prephaps its a variation to the original permission granted, in which case the council has a right to re-consult residents in the surrounding area.
Monday 4 October 2004 12.05pm
I don't think it is.

"The proposal is:
Alterations to Block D(facing Prioress Street and Rothsay Street) during course of construction; namely to construct a 5 storey building to provide 24 residential units and 14 live/work units together with basement car park with 186 parking spaces for residents of the Jam Factory with the entrance in Rothsay Street."

To me the important words here are "to construct". It is already half constructed. It's true that it reads as an alteration to the plans for the JF as a whole , ("during course of construction")but this still appears to be applying for permission after the event.

I'm told later that I can send written comments of objection or support within 21 days of the date of the letter and that no decision will be made until after this date. What if they receive objections? Do they stop work? Does it get pulled down? I don't think so for a minute. It suggests to me that any discussion would be ignored as a "decision" has already been made.
Monday 4 October 2004 12.24pm
There are strict rules about Planning Applications.

If you respond in writing to a planning consultation letter from the council you should receive a reply informing you of the next steps i.e. application to go to Planning Committee on ? or date to go to Community Council meeting.

If a planning application receives no objections it can be granted on delegated authority by the Council. If, on the other hand there are more than 2 objections it will go to Planning Committee at the Town Hall or Community Council for decision.

I suggest you contact the named planning officer on the letter you received to check.

Bankside Residents Forum produce a jargon free leaflet on planning for residents and it's free Tel: 020 7928 9528
Monday 4 October 2004 12.34pm
I had a look at the web site for the applications received over the past 3 weeks, does not mention anything there about the Jam Factory. I agree with Modigliani about objections and committee (I do this myself), but to me it sound as though it's a variation to the original permission granted. In which case, they can continue working until the new permisison is granted (working with the old one), if this does not get approval then they cannot carry out the work stated on your letter received.
Sunday 10 October 2004 10.20am
AFAIK, it is not illegal to build something without planning permission, but it is illegal to construct a structure that fails to comply with the building regulations.

The criminal law only becomes involved when , after the developer has put in a "retrospective" planning application, the council decides that it will not give planning permission for the new design.

The council can then take enforcement action to have the offending elements, be they overheight extensions/window that overlook neighbours etc. demolished or changed, and can go to court to ensure that the developer complies.

Unfortunately because this is a lengthy and costly process, too many retrospective applications get through with only minor modifications being agreed.

Sunday 10 October 2004 12.10pm
There are buildings shown on the site plan section on The Jam Factory website
which clearly show a row of buildings along Alice Street. Has this anything to do with the proposals mentioned?
Also states 'Blocks D + E coming soon'!... Has D already arrived do you think?
Sunday 10 October 2004 12.34pm
I've had numerous Southwark Planning forms requesting feedback over the years and have no
indication if any of my replies were even received, let alone read or taken into consideration.
I usually suggest that any proposed building project should allow for trees and sculptures to
brighten it up and make it more interesting. I live in hope.
Sunday 10 October 2004 2.09pm
This may be a little late, but I think it would be a good idea to take up the offer of the training on planning issues that was mentioned on the site here. I was fairly frustrated by the whole planning process until I learnt more about what planning officers and councillors on the development control committee can and can't take into consideration.

Which is not to let them off the hook - most of the time they are incredibly cautious and conservative (with a small 'c'). Planning officers are all too quick to say there's no point in rejecting an application because the developer will take them to a planning inquiry which they might lose. And Southwark is far too secretive about the negotiations that go on to agree s.106 'planning gain' agreements, preferring to present residents and councillors with a fait acompli instead of doing the hard work to really walk the talk of community engagement.
Monday 11 October 2004 9.12am
thomas - the angel property web site shows a proposed project in Alice Street of 12 'modern style' terrace houses, due to start going up later this year.
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