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Driscoll House, New Kent Road

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Wednesday 5 October 2005 2.22pm
He's very well qualified, in fact a bit over qualified to be a land lord....i'm impressed..he still sits behind the desk at Driscoll House....with all those qualifications, a vast property he's about to flog, all those vast amount of monies he may have earnt from D.H. I wonder if he would like a girlfriend thirty years younger than him! I may be able to do the dance of the seven veils ( or curtains given my size!) and persuade him to change his mind abour demolishing this nice old building!...
Thursday 6 October 2005 2.53pm
I'm a resident of New Kent Road and am very concerned about the proposed redevelopment of Driscoll House, as many others seem to be.

A neighbour and I have just spent a fascinating afternoon at the London Metropolitan Archives in Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB researching the history of Driscoll House (originally Ada Lewis House). We saw the original plans and photographs - the building has hardly changed in over 90 years. Also there were planning applications, invitations to the opening (Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll opened it in 1913) and press cuttings. The original specifications and tenders for the building prove that the fabric of the building is of very high quality and should be saved. Virtually all of the original interiors survive intact.

Concerns should be voiced to [email protected]

Some useful names:-
John East - Head of Planning and Transport
Anne Lippitt - Interim Head of Development and Building Control
Jason Traves - Planning officer

Catherine Bowman 020 7407 7265
Neil Watson 020 7539 1108
Jane Salmon 020 7252 5684

The Council seems VERY KEEN for this project to go ahead unhindered and I would suggest anyone interested needs to make a fuss! I would suggest that to destroy this building would be an act of wonton vandalism in an area which has already lost most of its historic buildings.
Thursday 6 October 2005 3.46pm
How do I nominate a building for listing?

For buildings in England, write a letter to:

Heritage Protection Operations Department
Room 202
English Heritage
23 Savile Row
London W1S 2ET

Your letter must be accompanied by good photographs of the building showing general views and details of importance, and also a map showing the location. (A clearly marked copy of an A-Z page or a printout from is acceptable.)

Indicate in your letter why the building is architecturally or historically important. The more relevant information you send, the quicker and easier it will be for the matter to be dealt with.

Useful questions to address are:

What was the building originally designed as?
When was it built?
Who designed it?
Who lived there?
Did the building play an important role in history?
I think the social history aspects of women's role in the workforce are something to play on
Was the design innovative or unusual?
Is the significance local or national?
certainly London-wide,given the number of hostel buildings demolished in recent years
Why does the building need listing? (eg threat of alteration, demolition, neglect or a recent change in ownership)
Name and contact details of the owner
Sunday 9 October 2005 8.11am
It is most useful to lobby the 3 ward councillors, who have an automatic say in planning applications and who sometimes dont have time to be aware of all issues until alerted by local residents. Call a meeting (if anyone has the time and energy to organise this!) where the agenda is controlled by the residents not the developers, and invite the councillors, who will then witness the strength of the opposition. Also worth lobbying are any other councillors on whatever the committee is called these days that makes planning application decisions. No doubt the planning officer will write a report strongly recommending supporting all these new homes, and the report will strongly influence things, but the actual decision is for councillors, so make yourselves known to them!
Monday 10 October 2005 11.12am
Lang Rabbie, I dont think I help much, I emailed english heritage, attaching the web picture for driscoll house. I think this development will be rushed through for one reason or another. I was going to contact Trevor Phillips?
Monday 10 October 2005 3.19pm
Here's a copy of the email I just sent of in reply to the planning application. Anyone who's concerned needs to do the same...

10th October 2005

Anne Lippitt, Interim Head of Development & Building Control
John East, Head of Planning & Transport
Jason Traves, Planning Officer
Planning & Regeneration
Council Offices
Portland Street
London SE17 2ES

Dear Sir/Madam

Your reference:- 05-AP-1817

Your letter of 5th October is misleading: - ‘Redevelopment of existing hotel… at: Driscoll House, 172 New Kent Road...' implies that the existing building is to be converted into flats. Few local residents would be likely to oppose such a scheme - I have spoken to 2 neighbours who assumed that the building would remain intact. The truth is that Driscoll House is to be demolished - a very different proposition. Ambiguous or misleading parlance at this very early stage a planning application is totally unacceptable and could well lead to many interested parties not objecting. Is this your intention? Driscoll House is NOT going to be redeveloped; it is going to be DEMOLISHED and the land it occupies is to be redeveloped. Please remedy this anomaly immediately by amending and resending your letter to all residents.

I have seen the plans and met the developers and I object to the scheme on the following grounds:-

1. The proposed development is next door to an eighteenth century listed terrace (the council will not allow residents of the terrace even to put up a satellite dish because it is ‘not in keeping') The design of the new development is modern in the extreme and would spoil this attractive part of New Kent Road.

2. The proposed site for development is very small and requires building right up to the site perimeters. The new dwellings will, therefore, be very close to existing housing - noise pollution is inevitable, particularly for residents of Balfour Mews and John Maurice Close.

3. The site is simply too small to successfully accommodate the 220 or so residents it is designed for. Many of the residents would be children and teenagers - there is nothing for them in the immediate area except for a very small park. This lack of amenities and high density living could lead to any number of social problems - have we really learned nothing from post-war social housing problems?

Yours faithfully

Monday 10 October 2005 3.45pm
Stephen, your right about the misleading comment..'redevelopment' when they really mean demolish..destroy...tear another bit of New Kent Road away.

Have you seen the lovely offices of Oracle Homes on their website? why dont they demolish that before they start on Driscoll House?

I shall e-mail southwark too.
Monday 10 October 2005 4.24pm
So far as the parking is concerned, they can prevent residents of new buildings from owning a car by not permitting them to apply for a resident's parking permit.
Monday 10 October 2005 4.43pm
Anne Widdecombe lives in Searles Road so I have been may affect her?
Tuesday 11 October 2005 9.47am
I would copy all your objection letters to the councillors.
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