James, thats my point - your forum on this point is rabidly cannibalistic, I was trying to hightlight that. I haven't a clue what is planned for that site, but its got to be better than whats there, and it sounds as though there is going to be some decent social housing/care space thrown in. This country is procrastinating so much now, that nothing gets done. HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THAT DISGRACE? DO YOU ALL WANT ANOTHER APARTHOTEL LIKE THE WESTMINSTER ROUNDABOUT??????
A lot has been made of the benefits that the development will bring. These genuinely include
- replacing the original staff accommodation, some built in 1951 which I consistently hear is in a poor condition.
- doing something with the "derelict" site
- providing a childrens nursery, a Ronald McDonald House, and a local health centre.
- the land south of Royal Street is "derelict" in part because it was set aside by the GLC to expand the park as this area is seen as deficient in green space. This aspiration still exists in Lambeth's about to be adopted UDP, though over a much smaller area.
- The childrens nursery already exists. The actual provision has, not too long ago been moved to within the hospital building, so the rooms are empty. But it is not new provision. Equally Ronald McDonald is well ensconced in Guys, and there has been recent concern about proposals to shut the health care centre in Lower Marsh.
This development is 50% private. Only a very few units (15?) of new "key worker" accommodation will be built. Given that this involves the use of public land and the total number of flats proposed is around 630, this is incredibly low. Much lower than on comparable private developments.
There will be a private development partner. This may well have been chosen. We just don't know who it is. I suspect these proposals would have attracted a lot more scrutiny even on this forum if they had the word St George, or Barratt attached to them.
The delays are down to the developer. They have been speaking to Lambeth planners for over five years. Their proposals were submitted not much more than a year ago. The first porposals completely failed to take on board concerns expressed both from Lambeth and during consultation about the impact on neighbouring trees. The resubmitted plans were not much better, only moving the above ground portion of the development back in line with changing British Standards on building next to trees. These were turned down, in about May.
The developer then spent six months deciding whether to resubmit or appeal. They chose the latter.
I personally think that a new set of plans, revised to take on local concerns would have been relatively easy to achieve. People genuinely want to see something happen. But just as many people would not want a neighbour to develop in a way that would threaten the long-term sustainabilty of trees within their own gardens, I and others object to plans which have flat with large windows looking straight into the Park's trees. The trees have some level of protection, but the impact on the light levels in those PRIVATE flats is such that they would then have a good case to ask for the removal of the trees. Do not forget that the park is not owned by Lambeth and it would be tough at a later stage for the council to fight both neighbour and landlord.
What I want is a design that is compatable with the long term sustainability of the trees.
I share Neils surprise that so many people seem to prefer a view of private flats to one of trees.
I find it hard to believe that this is a majority opinion. But pleased that this debate is happening openly.
I am not involved in this issue in any way but it seems clear that your concern seems not to be for the trees but rather due to your hatred of "PRIVATE" flats. If the development was solely for key workers would you still object so vehemently or indeed would the trees be any safer just because people didn't spend their hard earned money on the flats.
If there is a covenant in the lease stating that the residents of these evil "PRIVATE" flats waive the right to complain about loss of light or amenity from the existing trees then there shouldn't be a problem.
As for the issue of the distance from the trees...why exactly is British Standards not good enough for you? Do you think that when they designed the guidelines they thought that trees would still die if a development was built at that distance but couldn't be bothered to raise the distance? The long-term sustainability of the trees should be safeguarded by the revised British Standards and if that is what you really want then pat yourself on the back and relax as the use of the building or its residents will not have an impact on the trees but may have an impact on your enjoyment of the park as you will know that the flats are private.
I dont have any problem with private flats. Indeed I make my living from renting them.
My concern for the park is genuine. As a parent and with no garden this oasis of green is very important to me. Just about every other playground is overlooked by flats and offices. Local kids and others value this place away from roads, and development. Which is why we have a conservation area whose policy is to protect the setting of the park.
Your point about a clause in the lease is a good one. There has been a lot of discussion about how the trees can be protected in the longer term, and this was one of my suggestions. It was even picked up by members of the second Planning Applications Committee.
My understanding is that it cant be done. It would be unenforceable. Basically residents have a "right to light" and my understanding is that whatever the protections offered to the trees (TPOs) or within leases, the fact is that with the trees, light levels through these south facing windows will only be adequate, but without them would be excellent. This would be quite a strong case at any subsequent application to have the trees removed, or pruned back.
Planning Aid for London are helping me to find an expert who will be able to confirm this and the British Standard issue. I would be delighted to find a way forward that would guarantee the long term survival of the trees. And therefore the private nature of the playground.
The minimum British Standard is just that. A minimum. These trees are over 100 years old. They are huge. I am told that there is a huge difference between what a young tree can cope with, and the stresses that will kill an old one. Again we are seeking advice. But surely people can understand that there is a big difference in the minimum distance you can build from, say a young flowering cherry, and the safe distance you can build from a huge great London Plane. Even at this distance the trees will need constant pruning as their branches already reach out well beyond the building line.
The only way we seem to have at the moment is for the developers to change their design, to something which is not in conflict with the trees. Here I feel that the developers only have themselves to blame. The conservation policy says clearly that new development will be allowed on the site the hospital then owned, but that it had to be sympathetic.
In planning there is a natural tendency to try for the maximum. You make more money. This is why there is so much emphasis on developers carrying out PROPER public consultation before putting proposals in.
I have been told, by someone who no longer works for the Council, that this set of developers have been a nightmare to work with, and have refused to compromise at any stage, even though they were repeatedly warned about local attachment to the park and its trees.
Planning policy is there for a reason. To give a proper Balance between development and conservation. These proposals dont follow policies. Which is why the application was rejected. And why I and others will fight the appeal.
Another long post. The issue is simple. Though the detail is complicated.
What is better, when you are sitting in a park. A view of trees or a view of flats (private or keyworker). I know what I prefer. Others clearly prefer flats. Why cant we save Archbishops for the tree lovers, as it is unique. I would be very happy to provide a list of other parks in the area which are completely overlooked. Often by social housing, as well as private or key worker for JQL and friends.
Many years ago Sarah2, at the end of our street I heard a lot of noise, looked out of the window to see guys unloading chain saws...got straight on the phone to the t.p.o. in southwark, to find they were off till the following week...( this was on friday, lunchtime in fact) the trees were down by friday night....