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Potters Fields

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Saturday 24 September 2005 2.22pm
I agree Paul, the whole aspect of the Tower will change, (postcards will be out of date!). I know that the Wheel changed the silhouette of London - but I think we all agree it's a positive change and has become an enhancement, but these bloody "factory chimney" buildings will just look like a gas works....but there you go. Berkely Homes and St.George (they are all one happy family) just rule the world and the DPM will not say them nay. It's a national disgrace, as Simon Jenkins in the Times, and the Evening Standard have written, but who can stand against this thug?
Saturday 24 September 2005 9.53pm
I can't imagine Southwark counsil suddenly saying they like it,and ken livingston is living in a fantasy world if he thinks Potters fields could be used to stage events with those towers there.
And I will be furious if that land is not available for the Olympics.

Ken livingston admitted he dident even think we could win the Olympics .

So he's out of touch, and the inquiry's out of date.
Sunday 25 September 2005 7.43am
Oh dear, I wish REASON would prevail, but I'm afraid I;ve seen close up that it doesnt have ANY bearing at all.(too bloody close alas as they start to put this monster block in our car park at Metro Central Heights, ruining the scale of the Erno Goldfinger complex, blocking the light and air of the residents, causing havoc and traffic jams for miles, and snitching the parking which St.George sold originally together with the flats - a big reason to buy in central London you must agree, and now removed by that same vendor ten minutes later with the complicity of Mr. Prescott and his boys).
Sunday 25 September 2005 1.20pm
You could fit a good few all weather five a side football pitches or tennis courts ,on that site. ,that would be of more use to the people that live in the area, and create a space for special events for the whole of London.

One thing I don't understand is ,is if southwark council own the land ,how did Berkeley Home's come to be proposing this development in the first place.
Sunday 25 September 2005 10.56pm

As was explained on the previous threads about this development, Berkeley Homes do own some of the land, plus the old grammar school. They clearly thought that by dangling a large carrot under Southwark's nose they could persuade them to sell the remaining land they needed to build the development. Now that it looks like they are going to get planning permission to build these monstrositites, Berkeley will be considering just how much of a bigger carrot they can afford to wave under the council's nose again.

Part of the problem here stems from the fact that developers have been given a nod and a wink by previous Southwark officers to submit high-density housing schemes for the north of the borough, including this site, and Berkeley were responding to that nod and wink. The other part of this problem is that Southwark Council have also had the objective of building on this site - they don't want to keep it clear for an extension to the park or for the Olympics either. They want to see an arts venue on the site. Because the process, over the last couple of years, for reviewing Southwark's statutory planning document (the Unitary Development Plan), was so obscure and long-winded, local people and groups didn't actively pursue the potential opportunity to get Southwark to commit to designating the space as Metropolitan Open Land. This would have made Berkeley Homes' job much harder and put Prescott and Livingstone in a more difficult position.

The other piece of the jigsaw is this belief that maximising the economic output from this land is the most important thing, and that other values - such as people's health, leisure and pleasure - must come second to this. This should have been resolved by the Local Government Act 2000, which gives local authorities the power to take non-economic issues into consideration when deciding what to do. But it seems that this is proving difficult to put into practice, for two reasons: (1) Southwark still want to make money from the site by having an arts venue there, so they are not really interested in promoting plans which emphasise other values; and (2) they are dealing with a wealthy and litigious property developer, which really doesn't give a stuff about fluffy things like open space and people's wellbeing, since that's not what their shareholders want them to do.

If Southwark was serious about deciding what they wanted on the site they should have compulsorily purchased this land from St Martins (who owned it before they sold to Berkeley Homes) in the early-mid 1990s when land prices were depressed and St Martins didn't have a viable scheme for the site. However, at that time the Council was run by the people who were giving a nod and a wink to the property developers, so that was the last thing they would have done.


Monday 26 September 2005 6.42am
OMIGOD Andrew, how very succinctly put, is this not a terrible story? Nods and winks and all sorts of cash (not, you understand, necessarily used notes in brown envelopes, more like Party donations, Campaign support, and the like). As to your point re.litigation....dont we know it. We poor residents in Metro Central didnt have anywhere NEAR the cash that St.George threw at the two appeals against their bloody tower in our parking lot...QC.s at 100 quid a minute, rows of black suited lawyers, a cast of thousands, against our paltry little band . And as you say, the social issues of absolutely ZERO concern. The people who are going to live in this horror will be right on top of the railway, they will gaze straight into the windows of the people opposite who will be able to pass them cups of tea they will be so close, the view will be forever eclipsed and an architectually important complex(whether you like sixties brutalism or not) wrecked for ever....
Monday 26 September 2005 7.35am
Just so we're clear, I did not mean to imply any money changing hands when I used the phrase 'nod and a wink' in my previous posting. Nor do I believe there have been donations of money or other support in kind to any political party.

This is not to say that there has never been any corruption in planning matters, just that I don't believe there has been in this (the Potters Fields) case. Some previous senior Council officers - and probably councillors too - will have simply suggested to developers that their planning applications will be favourably received since they would be in line with what the Council sought to achieve anyway. The fact that I believe that what the Council was seeking to achieve was not in line with what I - and I believe many other residents of this area - wanted, is where I have a problem, since there wasn't any serious attempt to seek the public's approval for these radical plans.
Monday 26 September 2005 7.35pm
Very polite of you. Wish I felt less cynical. But frankly this is all a tale of vested interests of one kind and another and has little to do with the overall good of the common man. The rich just get richer and we get scr-wed. I really could leave the country on this, I'm THAT disgusted.
Monday 26 September 2005 8.20pm

The Olympics do form part of Karen Okeefs proof of evidence ,It was never really covered at the Inquiry though as Berkeley Homes weren't interested .in discussing it.

I sort of feel that the fact we did win the 201 2 Olympic strengthens southwatk councils case ,and weakens the inspectors decision because he made it before we new we had won.
Monday 26 September 2005 9.48pm
jackie rokotnitz Wrote:
> Very polite of you. Wish I felt less cynical. But
> frankly this is all a tale of vested interests of
> one kind and another and has little to do with the
> overall good of the common man. The rich just get
> richer and we get scr-wed. I really could leave
> the country on this, I'm THAT disgusted.

No reason not to feel cynical, it is just that I think those who have the same interests and same approach to communities find it very easy to work together, in spite of being on opposite sides of the regulatory fence, without money changing hands. Of course, sometimes they line up nice jobs for themselves afterwards, but that's another story...

Yes the gap between rich and poor is growing and that's pretty disgraceful at the best of times and outright disgusting when the government claims to be made up of people who are members of the Labour Party. But we live in times of Doublespeak...

I did leave the country! Just haven't stopped caring about what is going on in my former neighbourhood since I might be back one day.

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