Really Good Heygate Phase One Objections Meeting Report

Well worth reading is the in-depth write-up of the Peabody and Henshaw St TRAs hosted meeting about oppositions and arguments about the Lend Lease Phase One Heygate Site plans. We quote a length here from the People’s Republic of Southwark report:

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“Last night, Peabody and Henshaw St TRAs hosted a meeting about the Phase 1 proposals, as a growing number of residents are extremely concerned about it.

The meeting was packed, as some 40-50 people attended, and it was meant to give the residents another opportunity to voice their concerns and possibly get answers or suggestions from Cllr Peter John, Simon Hughes MP and the Southwark Mediation Centre team, who have been helping local residents talk with Lend Lease. Cllr Peter John, however, failed to show before we left at 8pm.

Simon Hughes MP informed everyone that a team of independent advisors had put together a briefing about the planning process, which, although complex and slightly confusing at times, would help those not as familiar with the process.

David Walker of Southwark Mediation Centre briefly spoke about their involvement, adding they intend to have another meeting with Lend Lease and raise any questions local residents have about the Phase 1 development. They already had a number of questions which came out of the previous meeting with local residents. Some of them made us chuckle, as many would indeed want to hear the answers to, for example, ‘What money have the developers received from the council?’ or ‘What guarantee has been given to Heygate residents for them to return to the area?’

Local residents passionately spoke about their issues with the proposed development.

The raised platforms, providing private amenity space, are making this effectively a gated community with no benefit or integration with existing neighbourhood. The two drawings were taken out of the Lend Lease’s Landscape Strategy document, submitted as part of the planning application. The green spaces within the red boundary are raised platforms, accessible only to residents of the new development. They would not be even visible to public, and while they will certainly be communal, they would not be public. The second image is an artist impression of ‘new’ people looking down on the private amenity spaces.

The density and height are completely incongruous with the surrounding quiet residential streets.

It transpired that there will be a whole of 27 ‘affordable’ homes, only 6 of which will actually be social housing. It was pointed out that Lend Lease went back on their pledge that half of the ‘affordable’ housing will be social rented. ‘Affordable’ comes to approximately £260 a week, which made it effectively unaffordable for too many.

Furthermore the ‘25% affordable housing’, in breach of council’s own minimum 35% policy requirement, is to replace what was 100% social housing.

A number of residents were visibly alarmed that not a penny out of the £4M Lend Lease are contributing through S106/CiL was actually going to be spent on the public realm outside the development itself. Some £2M is going toward the TfL’s underground improvements, the other £2M for the ‘public realm’ within the development, which, as stated before, will not actually be public but rather exclusive – one resident asked if Lend Lease was going to have security preventing local people from accessing the ‘public’ areas. A number of residents took part in a walk around Phase 1 with Lend Lease, raising their concerns. The past exhibitions and plans were showing widened pavements, more trees planted on Balfour Street and Rodney Road etc. None of this is in the submitted planning application.

Destruction of large canopy trees near or on the site is in breach of the London Plan and further destruction has to be stopped.

Waste disposal plans within the planning application are totally unacceptable, as Lend Lease are proposing to put industrial waste bins onto Balfour Street, which, many felt, more or less sums up the developer’s consideration for people living in the area now.

Concerns over this being ‘social cleansing’ were again raised, as few will be able to afford to live in the new homes.

One of the residents was concerned that Southwark Council, who are meant to be representing people who live in Southwark, were in fact supporting the developers and the ‘new’ people who will get to live in the new developments.

Another resident said the council only seem to be interested in making any profit they can, as they are selling absolutely everything, including, as someone added, public land, disregarding residents’ needs.

A question over why the council was allowing a planning application which is in direct breach of its own planning policy was also raised, giving the ‘car-free development’ (which this most definitely wasn’t) as an example.

Elephant Amenity Network had previously asked the council’s planning committee to have the discussion about the Heygate planning application spread over at least two days, to allow more local residents and groups to comment in person. Tonight we found out that the council did not think this was necessary, as, from what we understand, Cllr Dolezal was confident the application could be ‘disposed of efficiently’ in one evening.

Simon Hughes MP also spoke about the environmental aspect of the regeneration, still a burning issue for many, as the original plans were for a ‘zero carbon’ development.

Cllr Anood Al-Samerai said they hoped to discuss some of the issues raised at the next Overview and Scrutiny Committe meeting on 15th October and urged all those who can attend to do so. She added it might be worth asking Lend Lease to show how they listened to local residents’ concerns and suggestions”

The follow-up meeting with Lend Lease is scheduled for 18:00 on Wednesday 3rd October, at Myrrh Education Training Centre, Flint Street SE17 1QD (opposite English Martyrs School).

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Elephant Amenity Network have prepared a template objection letter which you are more than welcome to use, add to etc and send to the council’s planning department by email to planning.applications@southwark.gov.uk before 6th October 2012, quoting planning application reference 12/AP/2797.

Objection to Planning Application 12/AP/2797

I object to the planning application for Heygate Phase 1 on the grounds of excessive density and over-development of this site in a quiet, low-rise residential neighbourhood. There should be no  more than 210 units, which would still be a doubling of the previous density.  I also object to the breach of Council policy on 35% affordable’ housing, replacing 100% Council housing with an essentially private estate.

I object to the destruction of half the remaining trees in breach of the London Plan requirement not to destroy large canopy trees within or very close to a site.

I also object to plans which would see waste from the site left in industrial scale bins on Balfour Street!.  Waste  must be managed and collected within the site itself.

Finally, I object to Section 106/development gain monies of £4 million being spent only within the site and on the Northern Underground station.  There must be conditions requiring Section 106 monies to be spent on public realm and green infrastructure improvements to Balfour Street and the surrounding area.

 

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