Consultation Is A Hoax! Local people speak out.

Soundings / LendLease The Hub aka The Snub – Abandon All Hope Ye Who Dare To Enter!
Earlier this month, local residents and campaigners submitted a great pointed letter of complaint to Soundings who have been managing the consultations for Lend Lease’s regeneration of  Elephant and Castle. The letter was also sent to Sarah Gaventa, who has been the Chair of the LendLease created (and so entirely toothless and merely going through the motions) Regeneration Forum. The full letter is below:

                 Dear Soundings

Re: Elephant and Castle Regeneration Consultation

We are writing to you because we feel that there has been a serious misrepresentation of the amount of affordable housing to be built in Phase 2 of the Heygate redevelopment during the preplanning consultation that Soundings has conducted.

At both the exhibition in February and the Housing Workshop on 29th Jan the local community was told that Lendlease would be submitting an outline planning application that would include 25% affordable housing. This has proved not to be the case; instead Lendlease will only be building ‘as much affordable housing as is financially viable….’ This is in both the Planning Statement and the Housing Statement (8.1.4). The planning case officer has confirmed that the 25% minimum is not part of the application.

We will not labour the significance of this – instead of a guaranteed minimum of 600 affordable homes this development, when complete, could have no affordable housing at all. However whether this is good or bad is not the point of our complaint – it is that local community has been given no opportunity to gives its opinion on the true proposals.

Pre-planning consultation is part of the planning process. A report on the number of meetings, attendance etc. is usually part of the planning application. This report should now state that the local community was neither informed nor consulted about the amount of affordable housing and this should be taken into consideration by the planning committee. As the facilitator of the consultations we believe that it is Soundings responsibility to make sure this happens.

Yours sincerely

Jerry Flynn (ex Heygate resident, Elephant Amenity Network member)
Peter Stevenson (Crossway Church, Heygate Estate)
Adrian Glasspool (Heygate resident, EAN member)
Mark Tubbs (local resident)
Paul McGann (local resident, EAN member)
Lindon Rankin (local resident)
Katherine McNeil (local resident, EAN member)
Steve Lancashire (local resident, EAN member)
Chris Morris (local resident, EAN member)
Celia Cronin (Balfour St, EAN member)
Liliana Dmitrovic (Peoples Republic of Southwark)
M Pathmnabhan (Rockingham Estate)
Peter Davis (local resident)
Richard Lee (local resident, EAN member)
Jon Dennison (local resident, EAN member)
Hector Castells (local resident)
Luke Miller (local resident, EAN member)

Soundings Reply:

Thank you for your letter of 29 May in connection with the Elephant and Castle Consultation. I forwarded this immediately to Lend Lease for their comment. The response from Mr Deck is that the 25% provision set out in the Regeneration Agreement with Southwark Council remains unaltered and whilst it may not be mentioned specifically in the Planning Statement or Housing Statement it is specifically referenced in the Draft Section 106 Heads of Terms in the Application.  The public consultation events associated with this application have all reiterated the provision of a minimum of 25% Affordable Housing. Given the above explanation we believe that the consultation has been adequate and appropriate. I do hope this throws some light on the matter and I am sorry if the application documents have led to any confusion.

Kind regards
Steve McAdam

Jerry Flynn: ‘Nit-picking by Soundings and Lendlease cannot alter the fact that the promised minimum of 25% affordable housing is not guaranteed by the outline Heygate Masterplan application nor the fact that there has been no consultation with the local community about anything less than 25%.  This would require  2 simple questions being put to people – ‘are you happy with less than 35% affordable housing (the policy minimum)?’ and ‘are you happy with less than 25% affordable housing (the Lendlease promise)?’  The lack of consultation on this is good grounds for objections to the application.’


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