The Planning Inquiry on the Founders Place development to the north of Archbishops Park is due to start on 17 April. The Inspector then advises the Secretary of State and, hey presto and after five years, a decision is made.
And it would be reasonable to say that much of the delay centres around the future of 12 trees in a public park. Unbelievable. Though as other threads about planning and development issues confirm, trees in public places are at risk.
This Inquiry is important. Not just for me but for the precedent it will create. Lambeth turned the original planning application down on conservation grounds. The development is within a conservation area whose stated aim is to protect the setting of the park. If they lose this appeal they and other Local Authorities will be very reluctant to defend on Conservation Area grounds again. (A bit like them losing the appeal for a 40 odd storey building by Vauxhall bridge, and lo and behold, 40 storeys becomes the norm.)
This planning decision, unlike Bermondsay Square, Borough Market and elsewhere, is still to be made. Support is vital so we ensure that we draw a line in the sand to ensure a reasonable Balance between conservation and development. (The developers can havce their developemnt, but they should leave our park alone.)
I would be happy to send anyone the evidence I have submitted on the long term future of the trees. I had generous pro-bono help from three senior tree experts, and the advice was unanimous. The trees might survive the development phase, but will not survive the post development pressure.
I have spent the sunny weekend reading in excess of 1000 pages of evidence. I am so glad I am not a lawyer. The devil is really in the detail.
One nugget though that is well worth sharing - and I think may appeal to our architectural fans - is from Sir Terry Farrell's evidence:
"Colour is an important element in my architecture and is somthing I am fascinated by....I have found that the careful choice of colour is a design judgement that is best made as part of the final material choice. Should this scheme proceed I would like to continue to investigate the level of colour use on the buildings. I anticipate that this would be concluded in discussion with Lambeth planners and discharged as part of the reserve matters."
Why limit discussion to Lambeth planners. Why not have a competition to allow SE1 primary schools decide on what colour a 20+ storey building, close to and clearly visible from the Palaces of Westminster and Lambeth, should be.
Or could we offer a Forum vote.
Interestingly this seems to be the first time colour has come up. The nice scale models at the Planning Applications Committee were all white.
there should be montage of trees and woodlands, to remind the powers that be what London is losing on a daily basis in the mad scramble for building on every square inch..come to think of it Britain on the whole is too..