Tag Archives: Displacement

LABOURING PETER JOHN

Regular readers of Southwark Notes will know that when we want to labour a point, we will do! In our previous post we pointed out that when Leader of The Council Peter John blames the silent poster protest at the Heygate Masterplan Planning Permission Meeting on those ‘not from The Elephant & Castle’, we wondered both how he might have known this and would it even matter if they were. We also said that pretending it was outsiders who came along to disrupt the event was ‘one of the oldest and slimiest political tricks in the book

peter john tweet

When we asked him via Twitter how he knew it was people from outside The Elephant his reply made us sense that maybe he then wondered if it had been such a good idea to hastily and publicly blame it on outsiders. So switching to the perhaps the second ‘oldest and slimiest political tricks in the book‘, the tactic of divide and rule, he replied that that was what he was told by ‘residents who were from E&C at the meeting & have been involved in consultation. Take it up with them‘. We would point out this:

1) Peter believes so much in the consultation process as the most amazing winner of hearts and minds locally but forgets that despite members of Elephant Amenity Network, Wansey St and Garland Court TRA and Heygate Leaseholders Group all being some part of the consultation, they were the ones at the meeting objecting to the Masterplan and being quizzed on those objections by councillors for nearly two hours. Elephant Amenity Network had even sent a public letter to both Soundings Consultation agency and to Sarah Gaventa as Chair of the Lend Lease-created Regeneration Forum criticising the consultation process. The letter was signed by 28 local people or those working locally. So it’s not as if those who chose to take part in the consultations wouldn’t have something to protest about nor support the protest which is what many of those there on the night did. The objections and the signs in the protest were saying the same things.

In addition when we recently published our lengthy analysis of Soundings and the consultation: Listening To No End, we had had lots of emails of support and thanks from local people who were part of the consultation and agreed with our dire judgement of it all. We suspect it would be a hard task indeed to find many people who thought that the hours and hours we all spent in consultation had actually achieved anything substantial in the Outline Masterplan. Simply put it hasn’t and that is why objections to the plan took two hours!

2) Telling us to ‘Take it up with them‘ is a classic switching of gears and maneuvering himself away from any responsibility for what he had said. Now it can be spun as a case of it was the good objectors who had been consulted who told him it was bad outsiders so it wasn’t his fault if they had been wrong! Well, the most obvious point to make again is – in a public meeting open to all, how would anyone know where everyone had come from? But this is somewhat by the by really! We were in the room and we certainly recognised quite a few of them and the local Elephant campaigns they are part of because there has been such a slow but building resentment of this regeneration scheme as more and more promises are broken that you do get to know a few people along the way!

We leave this labouring the point with an amazing email we received after the Planning Meeting and our report on it. It puts the case much more eloquently and brilliantly than we might be able to:

“Dear Southwark Notes,
I think that the objectors and protesters at the Planning Committee last Tuesday were an amazing evidence of what could only be called a process of collective self-education about planning and urban regeneration policies in the Elephant. The depth and ingenuity of the objectors’ arguments was only schematically reflected in the protestors’ references to planning regulations and policies. But it was all there because years ago many local residents embarked on a process of learning and disseminating information about the changes proposed and taking place, putting up or attending visioning events, holding regular open monthly meetings to discuss changes in the proposed plans, seeking the advice and knowledge of urban experts, writing concerned and informed letters and emails to local Councillors, to MPs, to planning experts, architects, newspapers; making and watching documentaries about the area; organising and visiting photographic exhibitions of local communities, interviewing and being interviewed…

The objections and the protesters are only a small testimony of this large, engaged and enraged community of concerned citizens and residents that know the area as the back of their hands, having spent years poring over badly written and incongruous plans and contradictory policies, and evenings and days formulating the right questions to ask at ‘consultation’ meetings and open events… this is a participatory, varied and democratic public – one that understands constrains and not only critiques but also proposes (see EAN Visioning Event repart and EAN Interim uses report), that has always tried to engage and never to simply reject urban change…

The accusation that they are not ‘local residents’ is baffling: only an act of love for the neighbourhood and the area would have made all those people remain in a stiflingly hot and stuffy room for over 6 hours listening to planning jargon, poring over 200 pages documents, attentive, furiously taking notes, knowing what was being said, why the developers’ speech was full of euphemisms and fuzzy sales pitches, because none of what they say is grounded in the reality of the area, because what they are proposing is just another anonymous and alienating cut and paste from their repertoire of ‘global solutions'”


Normal Southwark Notes service will now be resumed after this unnecessary hiatus concerning The Leader of The Council.

HOW THE ELEPHANT WAS SOLD AT TOOLEY ST ONE TUESDAY NIGHT

We seriously haven’t recovered yet from our attendance at last night’s monster six hour pantomime playing at the Tooley St Theatre where the show was all about whether a large unaccountable development company (Lend Lease) could link up with a smaller unaccountable local council (Southwark) and do dastardly business together. The audience were played by local people who think these ugly sisters of business and wannabe politicians are about to re-stage the Kings New Clothes down at The Elephant. Any road up, here is a quick report. We will come back to the details at a later date.

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• 50 members of the public were excluded from a public meeting that affects their area. The Council didn’t have a room big enough at Tooley St offices to hold all those who wanted to sit through the pantomime so it kept a whole bunch of folks outside until half way thorough when enough people had left to accommodate 20 of them. The police and security kept the door between the lobby and the meeting room secure. At one point in the break, they even started off not letting anyone from the hearing going into where the excluded folks were but relented after some argument. Of course, the Council was uninterested in holding the meeting in a place that was actually big enough despite their being over 200 objections received. Of 102 possible seats, many were taken up by Lend Lease, Soundings (Consultation cronies) and council folks. A bigger room is a no brainer if you actually give a toss!

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• About 30 of the excluded people decided to hold their own fantastic objectors meeting outside in the lobby to discuss why they were there and their own concerns. We thought that was a brilliant idea instead of just giving up and going home.

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• This is what the meeting looked like. A bright and airless room where we sat for 6 hours listening to one hour of brilliant focused, precise and wise objections to the Council’s willful overlooking of a Masterplan that breaches it’s own policies in numerous topics – affordable housing, car parking, sustainability, health and education and over-12 play provision and so on. And then 5 hours more of silence from any Labour Councillors to actually have any single criticism of the Masterplan and sometimes good and sometimes rather tired questioning from the Lib-Dems on the Planning Committee. All the Councillors had received detailed objections from tons of people as emails and papers and these were also all in the large 197 page Planning Committee document that each of them had. Yet they were unable to really get to grips with both the nuances and precise content of those objections. At the start we were informed that the meeting was ‘not party political‘ as if having 4 Labour councillors and 3 Lib-Dems was going to make no difference at all to the final vote.

rip off viable

aff rent not social

comm con not box

crowd signs1
• We also heard over an hour of Lend Lease corporate waffle and nonsense. One example among the many that we are afraid to unleash to those who weren’t there: When asked whether new more chain shops might be seen as a dangerous competition to long established local traders, one Lend Lease word magician replied that he ‘didn’t like to think of it as competition but as more like opportunity‘. Of course destroying local shopping is also contrary to the new 2012 National Planning Policy Framework that seeks for council to ‘ensure the vitality of town centres‘ i.e don’t make everywhere chain retail hell.

During Lend Lease’s questioning by the Council (akin to being ‘savaged by a dead sheep‘ as the saying goes) local people held up signs in silence to highlight key objections to the Masterplan. The Chair for the night Labour Councilor Nick Dolezal, who we found rather showy and cartoonish, freaked out and threatened the protestors with removal even though when security came they were decidedly reluctant to begin grabbing anyone. (Dolezal later publicly described them as ‘our little pixies‘!). Another threat to remove everyone bar the Council, the developers and the objectors who had spoken was also aired was similarly ignored because how can you seriously bar the public from a public meeting.

silent poster thing1
(Nick Dolezal ponders his next move as more posters are hoisted in yet another part of the room)

The silent protest was only meant to highlight the farce in progress anyhow and not to prevent anyone from hearing the rest of what was said. After twenty interesting minutes of Dolezal overreaction, the posters were lowered so that the show could go on. At point, a protestor offered the boyish Leader of the Council Peter John some posters which he took and enthusiastically threw to the floor. ‘Peter, not down there! You’re supposed to hold them up!’, was the poster givers reply. Made us laugh anyhow!

There was a telling moment near the end when the procedure requires ‘one representative for any supporters who live within 100 metres of the developement site‘ to come and testify their support. No one in the room rose to take up that role!

pink ele rip off

To cut a long story short, there was no surprise when the 2 Lib-Dems voted against (because it wasn’t their party in power but they would have done the same as Labour did last night if they were) and 4 Labour votes for the scheme. There was one totally pointless abstention from a most bizarre Lib-Dem councillor (who used to be a Tory councillor) from Dulwich. At telling moment came about 20 minutes before the vote when Dolezal was rushing to finish and in a moment of pushing things along, he said ‘Oh, I’m getting serious now‘ to which we would add: Well, it is probably a serious business, no? You wouldn’t think so given Dolezal’s constant gum-chewing, jokes and lack of impartiality.

To give you a clue as to how The Elephant was sold last night we will highlight the fact that when Lend Lease were questioned on whether they will receive the freehold of the Heygate Estate land, Dolezal ruled that this question had no bearing on the planning permission. It’s a bloody good question though! When you consider that the whole scheme delivers only 71 truly affordable socially rented units to replace the 1100+ council tenancies that made up Heygate and the rest of the ‘guaranteed‘ 25% of affordable homes are of such a tenure type* that they are actually extremely unaffordable for local people and also many Londoners, you might start to wonder how it is that this scheme can be granted approval. When you consider that Lend Lease reckons that the scheme is barely viable at approx 10% affordable housing but are committed to 25%,  and that no-one is allowed to actually look at the figures because they are commercially sensitive, you might wonder if a load of porkies is being told. Would they really commit to something so obviously risky? When you consider all this, the question of whether Southwark will give Lend Lease the freehold to this currently publicly-owned land is a good and pertinent one.

(* In addition to the 71 target rent places (socially-rented) there will be a further 194 ‘Affordable Rent’ places, these rents being set at a rate of 50% of the private market rental rate locally. i.e not affordable to many. And this despite Southwark’s own 2011 objections to the concept of ‘Affordable Rent’ and the 2012 London Plan’s examination criticisms).

Lend Lease的壞公司

Lend Lease的壞公司

Anyhow, we have on tape Lend Lease’s absolute commitment to seeing this project through. So of they ever wangle out of it over the next 16 years, we will find them and subject them to a merciless replaying of this promise.

Oh, by the way, we would really be fools if we actually believed their promises. Like the Council, promises are made to be broken and to be forgotten.It is a rule at these meetings that no photography or sound / video recordings must be made and so with no actual official record of last night’s proceedings being made for public scrutiny, all of Lend Lease’s promises remain words in a room in a particular moment in time. Happily, to keep an important unofficial record, there were camera’s-a-g0-go (as you can see) recording the proceedings and at least two people in the audience taped the whole thing.

There was many a moment like this: When asked about interim uses on the Heygate site before the new houses are built and whether it would get in touch with Celia from Victory Park who had initiated a tree nursery with local school children in the Heygate Rose Garden*. They said ‘Yes, they would‘. It was common for them to nod and solemnly say ‘Yes, they would‘ to remaining open to alleviating many concerns that were raised. But with no minutes or record, who is there to keep them to their easy words?

(* We can add that this lovely example of a local community-led labour of love was not so heart-warming to the Council. They have welded the gates of the Rose Garden shut so neither Celia nor the kids can now get in there)

Poster 101
We will say it again: Southwark has no interest in hearing objections, useful criticism or local wisdom. It has no interest in even pretending (like Lend Lease) that it’s consultation is meaningful to any planning inquiry. It is wholly unaccountable to it’s voters. It is a total joke for anyone who cares passionately ebnough to engage in local politics through this kind of framework. This way of working is flawed. It simply cannot work to the benefit of local people. We spent years in consultation with these people, taking it seriously and giving up our knowledge and passions for free but we have not seen one single thing barring a few saved trees taken seriously or put into the Masterplan. The Masterplan remains a totally blatant and greedy land grab at the expense of local people.

heygate flush
After attending Lend Lease’s One The Elephant luxury flats ‘community preview‘ last week and last night’s farce, we were starting to get resigned to all this, to start to think it’s all over or that there is no alternative to the private investment model of housing and regeneration. It was a tough week.

But there is another way and we need to find it. We will continue doing what we do and we invite you, as always, to join us in that work.

villain
Here follows our shorter review of last night’s show:
PURE PARTY POLITICAL PLANNING PERMISSION PANTOMIME. PAH!

HOW THE ELEPHANT WAS SOLD! Putting Tuesday 15th January 6pm In Your Diary!

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‘I think there’s gonna be a leisure centre or something, behind the tower, somewhere…something like that, a little one and some new shops’*
Rob Deck, Lend Lease’s Elephant and Castle Project Director sells The Elephant at this week’s perfunctory and bizarre ‘community preview‘ of One The Elephant development – 37 storeys of luxury flats mainly to be sold off-plan to foreign investors**

Next Tuesday 15th January 2013 will see Southwark Council’s Planning Committee gather at their Tooley St offices to rubber-stamp Lend Lease’s Masterplan for the Elephant and Castle area. They have already issued a press release about why the Masterplan needs to be approved and all the total unaccountable crud and spin that goes with it – making mixed communities, more money for affordable housing, new parks, new this and new that. There will be some kind of debate amongst the councillors on the committee and 5 minutes in total have been allotted for public objections on the biggest planning application ever received by Southwark.

It’s taken a long long time to get this far. A really long time. We and countless others have been arguing against this form of regeneration of the local area for a long time too. We urge everyone who feels uncertain or pissed off about this monster rip-off to read the collective response to the Council below from the three brave local folks who will be standing up in the five minutes to give their best shot in making someone in the council see sense and vote NO to this scheme.

We also urge that anyone who feels uncertain or pissed off about this scheme, makes sure they come to Planning Meeting this Tuesday 15th January at 6pm at the Council Offices at 160 Tooley St, SE1 (London Bridge tube)

———-

Heygate Outline Masterplan application 12-AP-1092
and demolition application 12-AP-3203.

We are representatives of local groups who have objected to the above applications. We propose to speak on behalf of these groups at the planning committee meeting next Tuesday evening, 15th January 2013.

We have the following concerns and objections which cannot be fully aired in 5 minutes.  We have therefore listed them and trust that you, and  your colleagues, will help us ensure that they are fully addressed, by asking questions of us based on these points.

References to the ‘report’ are to the officer’s report for the planning applications that recommends approving the scheme.
Jerry Flynn (Elephant Amenity Network)
Philip Ashford (Garland Ct TRA)
Adrian Glasspool (Heygate Leaseholders Group)
Our concerns and objections are as follows;-

 
Application 12-AP-3203 (Demolition)
 
The Heygate Leaseholders Group are losing their homes to facilitate this application. We are objecting to the Compulsory Purchase Order placed on their homes on the grounds that the public benefits of the scheme have been lost. Heygate Leaseholders were promised a retained equity option in assisting them to purchase homes in the new development, there is no such option in the accompanying scheme application. The Leaseholders Group requests that the provision of such an option is a condition of granting both the demolition application and the development application.
 
Interim Use
  • lack of proposals for interim uses of existing resources of the Heygate estate during the 15 year development period. 
  • lack of public access arrangements to the site, so that the rich potential for interim use can be realised
A possible interim use on the site is Crossway Garden – This walled green space is located towards the north eastern edge of the masterplan, south of Crossway Church. Over the last 2-3 years the garden has cultivated as a nursery bed for fruit trees and bushes. Children from the local Victory Park School have been involved with planting days. Gardening is connected with the nearby Victory Park as part of a neighbourhood gardening initiative and Southwark Green Links.

Application 12-AP-1092
Financial Viability

  • doubts about the financial viability of the scheme
  • how will the ‘viability gap’ in the scheme be bridged?
  • how will we avoid the Heygate becoming yet another stalled development site?

The viability of the scheme is described as ‘problematic’ (para. 151) and refers to a ‘viability gap’ representing ‘very big risk’ on the part of the applicant (para. 153). The Phase one Heygate application states: “The level of affordable housing proposed represents a level that is currently above what is indicated as being viable.”  Non-viability of the scheme is also listed in the council’s risk register as one of the major impediments to the scheme going ahead.

 
How is the viability gap between the viable level of affordable housing at 9.4% and the 25% (para. 150 & 153) offered being bridged while maintaining the financial stability of the scheme?The 360 London (London Park Hotel) and Oakmayne Plaza (Tribeca Square) sites were granted planning permission six years ago; these sites remain undeveloped. There is no reference to the time schedule for the delivery of the detailed planning applications in the report.We propose that a condition be attached to any approval of the application requiring a fixed schedule of applications.


Housing
  • lack of social rented housing
  • phasing of the affordable housing delivery

The scheme will provide only 71 social rented units out of a total 2,300 new homes (para. 159). This is in breach of Southwark Council’s planning policy, which would require approx. 400 social rented units. 198 affordable rent properties are also being provided, but they are not affordable for many residents of the borough. 

 
Affordable rent is also not a type of social rented housing. Both the National Planning Policy Framework and draft revisions to the London Plan have social rent and affordable rent as separate categories of affordable housing (with intermediate housing as a third category). A consortium of 9 boroughs including Southwark supported this position at the London Plan examination in public in November 2012. Therefore affordable rent units cannot be used to meet the social rented proportion of the affordable housing required by policy. The application should therefore be rejected on these grounds.
 
The first two tranches of the six tranches of the scheme only deliver 20% affordable housing (para. 156). This means that the first 1,200 units of the scheme will only provide 20% affordable housing. This should be changed so that 25% minimum is delivered from the beginning of the scheme. 
 
An initial review of the affordable housing delivery is proposed only after two years beyond the first approved application (para. 154). We are also concerned that the conditions for changes in phasing will not be strong enough to ensure that the development is delivered in a timely fashion (para. 35).
 
Garland Court/Wansey Street residents

  •  detrimental impact of Walworth Sq. on Garland Ct and Wansey Street
  •  the impact of density of the development on local residents
  •  the impact proximity of the development on local residents
  •  loss of amenity, particularly privacy, quietness, daylight, residential character
  •  disruption during demolition and construction
 The residents and shopkeepers of Wansey St, Balfour St, Rodney Rd, Henshaw St, Salisbury estate and Peabody trust will all suffer significant degrees of disruption and inconvenience over many years.  There are particular concerns about the impact of the new  public square off the Walworth Rd on the amenity of Garland Court and Wansey Street residents.

Public Realm

  • the reduction in amount of green and open space
  • the private management of the park
  • maintaining real public accessibility of the park
  • Highway Authority concerns about Estate Management Company control

The park will be managed by a private Estate Management Company (EMC). The park should be designated public open space and if not Council managed, a trust should be considered as an alternative, instead of a Parks Advisory Group (paras 326 & 380)

We note the comments made by the Highway Authority that the Estate Management Strategy assumes management of the existing areas adopted by the EMC (Appendix 2 – para. 11). We share the Highway Authority’s concerns and object to the public realm appearing to move into private hands. 

We note the Highway Authority’s comments quoted here and support its proposals for alternative management and enforcement regimes:

“General concern is raised about the proposed number of new private streets (unadopted highways) within the application given the likely impact on the council’s ability to control the network and manage the boroughs streets and spaces for the benefit of residents, businesses and the travelling public.  If this course is pursued then it is strongly recommended that robust alternative management and enforcement regimes are included in any consent.” (Appendix 2 – Para. 11)

Car Parking 

  • contrary to Southwarks car-free policy
  • reduce the number of car-parking spaces

The development is not free of car parking as originally envisioned and set out as policy by Southwark in the E&C SPD. If the scheme is not to be free of car parking, a condition should be created which sets it at a lower rate than the up to 27% of units having car parking (plus motorcycle parking plus car club places) that is currently being demanded.

 

616 car-parking spaces are proposed for the scheme (para 225) despite Council policy requiring it to be car free.  The Elephant has the highest possible public transport accessibility rating (PTAL 6b) so why are so many car-parking spaces needed?

Strata Tower which has been completed has car parking set at 14%, the consented Oakmayne development 11%. Most recently St Mary’s Residential was granted at 16% (8% disabled and 8% private). If parking is to be allowed it should be at a far lower rate.


Ecology

  • inaccuracies in ecology section of the report
  • inaccurate data, un-evidenced claims and lack of consultation
  • no collection of baseline data
  • potential impact of scheme on local biodiversity and lack of mitigation measures                                                             
Victory Community Park and the Elba Place nature garden are close by the Heygate estate. Both are Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and the Elba Place nature garden is used by the Victory School – both are rich in biodiversity. There are serious factual inaccuracies in the Ecology Implications section of the report. (paras. 312 – 319). We do not believe any assessments have been made of the sites relating to the impact of the proposed development. The data reported in the environmental statement is out of date, incomplete and inaccurate, and does not allow baseline assessment of the potential adverse effects of the development. Southwark’s own plan 12.31 policy 3.28 does not permit damage to SINC’s in order to facilitate development, and requires mitigation and compensation for any damage to biodiversity. This application does not meet those requirements. 
 
Trees
  • concern about caveat on retention of existing trees
  • unnecessary removal of trees
  • Highway Authority recommendation for tree planting
The applicant proposes to remove 283 and retain 123 of the 406 existing trees (para. 336). The retention of the 123 trees is compromised by a caveat deferring to detailed surveys (Root Protection Area – RPA surveys) due to be carried out during later design stages.(Tree Strategy 1 of 8, Page 22, Paragraph 6.4)
 

These RPA surveys should be carried out now and a firm commitment given to retention of trees. A greater number of trees should be considered for retention, especially those on the north side of Heygate St. for which there appears to be no clear grounds for their removal.

 
We note the objection made by the Highways Authority that the proposed streets will be too narrow to give sufficient space between buildings for newly-planted trees to grow adequately. We support the Highway Authority’s recommendation: “It is recommended that the minimum critical distance for streets be increased to 12m in all instances. In the absence of this it is unlikely that street trees and other planting will be accommodated adequately;” (Para. 11 – Appendix 2)


Sustainability

  • lack of sustainable alternatives
  • unrealistic energy centre connection proposals
  • unfeasable biomethane fuel proposals
This scheme was chosen by Bill Clinton as a global example of zero carbon development. The scheme aimed to produce enough on-site renewable energy to supply the entire Elephant & Castle area. This aim has since been abandoned and the application fails to propose any on-site renewable energy whatsoever, contrary to Southwark’s policy which requires 20% minimum.
 

We note that the application considers biomethane gas for its on-site renewable energy requirements. We don’t believe that this an acceptable proposal for reasons that the report itself notes, including:

  1. Biomethane is not classified as an on-site renewable energy source therefore it cannot meet Southwark’s policy requirements (para. 411)
  2. There is currently no supply of biomethane available in the UK (para. 410)
  3. The applicant is not proposing to generate any biomethane gas, and makes no firm commitment to purchase any should it become available in the future
We propose that the 20% on-site renewable energy requirement is met using a combination of the alternatives listed in paragraph 406.

We note the report’s comment that through planning permission additional plant can be installed to accommodate additional capacity (para. 404). We request that a planning condition is applied upon granting the application accordingly: The new Energy Centre should be constructed such that it has sufficient capacity to supply all of the surrounding developments as identified in the Energy Strategy.
 
CYCLING 
  • inadequacies of proposed new routes
  • no proper transport assessment
  • no proper connection to strategic routes
The cycling proposals fail to take sufficient account of the deaths and injuries cyclists have suffered around the Elephant and Castle. It is proposed to widen the northern roundabout, which will increase traffic flow. The new cycle connection suggested between Brandon St and Meadow Row is not more ‘direct’ as the officer’s report claims, and ignores the key connection with the crossing at Falmouth Rd.
A CS6 cycle route through the Heygate site and the needs of commuter cyclists are not being considered in this application.S106

  • potential net loss of 1,500 sq metres of community facilities
  • transport infrastructure spend        
The Heyate comprised a total of 2,500 sq metres of community facilities; the scheme proposes a minimum of just 1,000 sq metres. The minimum should be increased to 2,500 sq metres so that there is not net loss in community facilities.  
 
The transport infrastructure spend is still insufficient to fund improvements to the tube station and northern roundabout.     
 
 
Employment/Retail

  • will the London Living wage be paid for employment on scheme?
  • no long term commitment to affordable retail units for existing small and independent traders who are likely to be displaced
  • no targets for jobs for local residents post construction
There is no information on how many of the affordable retail units will be available for displaced local retail businesses.
Those employed in construction jobs on the scheme should receive at least the London Living wage.
We note the minimum construction jobs target for local residents (para. 376) We would like to see a similar minimum target for local residents post construction (para. 135). A definition of the area of local benefit is also needed.
We note that the legal agreement will secure 10% of affordable retail space which will be prioritised for existing SMEs in the E&C OA. However, it is understood that this may be limited to a term of just 5 years, thereby failing to provide long-term security for small retailers. 
 
Place Making
  • The size of the large retail units at ground floor are too large
  • The scale, height and form of the buildings need to create a positive sense of place
  • Cafes and other amenities need to be affordable

The footprints of the ground floor retail spaces are considerably larger than that of many of the surrounding local businesses. The building form should create a larger number of smaller units. This would increase permeability, enrich the public domain and encourage local businesses to connect with the development.

The area around the base of the Strata tower is an example of how the public realm can become marginalized through the impact of tall buildings. The scale, height and massing of the proposed development should be reconsidered.

The proposed cafes around the green space may not be affordable to all local people, and will therefore fail to create a truly human sense of place and inclusiveness for the neighbourhood. Smaller scale community focused businesses should be integrated within the proposals.

* Not an actual quote from Rob but more of that Southwark Notes sarcasm

** Since this post, we are proud to announce that, after the UK, the country with the second most hits on this site is Singapore! Welcome to all our viewers in The Far East: One The Elephant 價過高 / harga yang terlalu tinggi

OBJECT TO REGENERATION: Please make your objection in one second please

The excellent Elephant 35% Campaign blog puts the current situation with the regeneration in stark contrast about how has power to make decisions on local matters and who is not welcome to unless they can speak very very fast.
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MASTERPLAN
The biggest planning application ever submitted to Southwark Council is due to be heard by its planning committee on Tuesday 15th January. This is the Heygate Outline Masterplan (12/AP/1092) that will see the future of the built-up environment around The Elephant change dramatically with the demolition of the Heygate and all the new unaffordable homes put on that site. Not too mention the inevitable knock-on effect of other later developers feeling that with this planning permission being granted now would be the best time to build more and more private homes in the area in any space, building or park they can get away with.
masterplan2
MONSTERPLAN
The Outline Masterplan application is so huge that Southwark has spent 9 months evaluating over 2o0 submitted documents. You can see how big and bonkers it is by clicking the link above or here! You can also get a measure of it from our pictured screenshots of the number of documents listed on the Southwark Planning Register under this application – and that’s just A to D!
There has also been a lot of very detailed and critical opposition to many of the intentions and desires of Lend Lease (the developer) contained within their Masterplan. There have been over 200 objections so far. It’s no joke having to wade through hundreds and hundreds of pages of sometimes dense technical and legal planning speak but over 200 people got stuck in.3min

Anyhow, despite appeals to common sense and using the example of the King’s Cross Masterplan where that massive plan was heard over a number of sessions, objectors have failed so far to get any reasonable amount of time to present their case. The Council is insisting that the normal THREE MINUTES will be allotted for them to hear objections and criticism.
masterplan3
So, if only 50 people were allowed on the night to talk about the Masterplan’s failure to maintain adequate social housing levels, or, as promised, a car free development, or it’s reduction of local green space and the felling of 100’s of trees, or the carbon neutral development that was hyped, those people would have less than 3.5 seconds each to make their case. Even if only 5 people spoke up they would still have less than 40 seconds to make their case!

This is just plain regeneration madness! See you there: Tuesday 15th January 6pmCouncil Offices at 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH
planmeet 15 th jan

WHAT REGENERATION ‘BENEFITS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE’ REALLY MEANS

The point we will labour below is that community benefits that come from agreements between developers and the Council have to make sense and be a tangible, enduring and worthwhile local resource. Siting a new playground in an estate undergoing decant is frankly nonsensical but it does kind of seem to us like just more craziness in a long and infamously crazy regeneration saga.

okplazanowork
Cast your regeneration minds back to as far as late December 2007 when all was optimistic down at the numerous empty development sites dotted around The Elephant.  You may recall that the Oakmayne Plaza site was asking the Council for a new planning permission based on dumping the fancy hotel tower component of their mega-scheme in favour of a tower of student flats instead. Alongside this change was also the dumping of any affordable social housing from the scheme:
oakmayne plaza changes 2007

Not that the affordable component amounted to much any how but the 5 units pre-2007 were snipped now back to zero units. In lieu of cheaper housing for local people ironically a cash payment to the Council was promised to help along the promised Early Housing Sites for decanted Heygate tenants. So that was a lot of good as the houses simply weren’t built in time for the decant anyhow and very few people subsequently returned to the new Housing Association homes!

elephant rd park 2008
Anyhow we digress. To make up for the loss of the children’s playground on Elephant Rd park which was taken away one sunny weekday morning (see above) and as part of the incentive to get the Council to agree the changes, Oakmayne arranged for the new playground to be built on Heygate Estate to make up for the loss of the old one. (The whole park being robbed from local people a few years later – see here!).

Of course, plonking down a new playground there is also of dubious merit. It seemed that no questions had been asked about why a playground in Elephant Park is more accessible and useful to a wider community than one just put where any other patch of trees and grass happened to be. That the playground was not solely for the use of Heygate tenants but the wider Elephant area was fudged completely by the siting of the replacement playground. By choosing to ignore the organic fabric that the community weaves by everyday use of open spaces, parks and playgrounds and instead operating from a mentality of false ‘like for like’, it seemed more of a case of ‘well, that’ll do!’ for the  locals!

heygate play map

You can see the new 2007 playground here:
heygate playground

And you can see how great it remains in 2012 now that the estate is virtually empty and after some subcontractors had chopped it up for scrap (as witnessed by some then extant Heygate residents):
heygate play new

All that remains is this somewhat poignant and lonely roundabout:

Worth bearing in mind that the decant and slow boarded up and walling off of the Heygate estate has meant the loss of three local playgrounds – the one above in the middle of the estate and these two:

heyate balfour play 2heyagte play2 old
Playground in the estate near Balfour St now secured shut

heyate-phs-1-kidsheygate phase 1
Playground in the old Heygate site North of above Rodney Rd grilled up pre-demolition 2011. The developer got the local school kids to paint some pics to put up on the hoarding that encloses their old playground!

WHY HISTORY?!
We write up this ancient history just to make the point that as local people we not only know what is going on in our area and what amenities and resources we rely on but we also know that developers have no real knowledge or understanding of what makes up our local area and the communities that need things such as playgrounds or open spaces for football or just plain relaxing.

At Southwark Notes, like The Elephant itself, we never forget and we are happy to pull out an old document or two full of promises from the Council and different developers and say ‘Hey, wait a minute – what happened to this promise and what happened to that one?!‘. We said it before and in Southwark it’s vital that we keep on saying it – Regeneration has to be truly accountable to local people.

Promises are often made on the backs of a sense of trust and good will from local people to lose something like a playground or park and to wait for the intended redevelopment to put back what was lost. Accountability means that decisions and promises are kept to the word and not just lost along the way as the developers claw more and more profits from high density developments built on former public parks and playgrounds. It’s up to us to keep them to their word.

BLACKFRIARS RD: B.A.R.D GET BUSY!

 bard2bard5
bard4bard3bard1

Blackfriars Action for Responsible Development
(BARD)
It was the ‘extraordinary arrogance‘ of Linden Homes representatives who came to the Blackfriars Rd community that was described as ‘the straw that broke the camels back‘ by a BARD member recently. Linden Homes is proposing two scheme options for the site of St George’s Mansions, the shops below and the next door pub Imbibe. Scheme One, their ‘preferred‘ option is a massive 27-ish storey tower block. Option Two, i.e the dead horse option, is a less tall tower (15 floors) with less public realm stuff (some cleaned pavements, some trees etc). The whole scheme has been wonderfully named Blackfriars Rd Central. Ho ho!

bard site
BARD, which is made up of a number of local folks, tenants groups and amenity groups called a small community demonstration on December 2nd 2012 and about 50 people came along to chat, listen to some good words and thoughts, hear a song and share cakes and drinks. It was a great hour well spent with some rousing notions and intentions to not let developers come to any area and start dictating what goes where with no consideration for long term residents nor any sense of what the community is, does and why.

bard6
Quotes from the BARD member’s speech at the community demo:
What we are saying in the this demonstration today is that we have had enough. That local people have had enough…the only thing that will stop them is us. There is nothing else, there is us. We are what will stop them……Local people don’t earn enough to live here anymore and what they will do is drive us all out because this land is worth billions. We either have to get together, to work hard, we have to act in solidarity with each others struggles,  not have a struggle against this and a struggle against that but a struggle to make this a community that is meaningful, that people want to live in‘.

linden options

At Southwark Notes, we have been clear for a long time now that the regeneration of The Elephant area cannot be separated out from any development of Bankside, Aylesbury Estate, Bermondsey etc. Each place has a knock on effect on the other site especially if certain areas are being earmarked out for zero social housing and maximum luxury apartments. That’s just not right.

We welcome BARD and it’s fantastic starting demo and it’s intuition that we are all one fight against crazy land speculation and overpriced developments that offers little or nothing to existing communities. At the Elephant we have a lot of experience of the regeneration agenda and its accompanying spin and hype and empty promises. We hope we can add some insights into their already insightful campaign. Best of luck to BARD.

BARD is meeting regularly:
The next meeting of BARD is on Thursday, 10 January 2013 at 7 pm at Nelson Square Gardens Community Association Hall, 60a Rowland Hill House, Union Street, SE1. (Ground Floor Rowland Hill House, next to the Lord Nelson Pub). All welcome!

You can sign the BARD Online petition here

PIE IN THE SKY vs BLUE SKIES: IT’S ALL THE SAME!
An excellent piece was subsequently posted on the In SE1 News blog which covered both the demo and reports that the Council had been having ‘secret meetings‘ with Blackfriars developers (of which there are numerous – see our handy map below) who have constituted themselves as the Blackfriars Road Landowners’ Forum. Cllr Peter John described the meetings purely as ‘blue sky thinking‘. We leave you to figure the substance of such blue sky thinking (creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs) in regard to local people and shops.


blackfriars rd map

GHETTO MENTALITIES
Developments in the Blackfriars Rd and Southwark St area have already been subject to much criticism whereby large developers are let off both the London Plan and Southwark Council policy of factoring in affordable housing to create mixed tenure schemes. Instead big developments such as NeoBankside, One Blackfriars Rd and the forthcoming Kings’ Reach tower have been able to buy their way out of this with the promise from the Council that the $$$ will be used to build affordable housing somewhere else in the borough i.e not by the Thames. Questionable is the notion that a) the riverside should be given over to the creation of a rich person’s ghetto (contrary to any notion of building mixed communities, b) that existing residents shops and services will not be able to afford any increase in rent from the upscaling of the area.

EGG & CHIPS FOR ALL!!
The Linden Homes Blackfriard Rd development has said that the working mens’ caff and the dry cleaners that it will demolish will have a place in the new development. We cynics at Southwark Notes wonder whereabouts a working men’s caff will fit into a 27 storey tower of overpriced luxurious apartments. Maybe it can occupy a place at the top in a special Egg and Chips Public Terrace!

Two interesting meetings coming up and demo!

The 35% CAMPAIGN is ‘campaigning for community inclusion in the Elephant & Castle regeneration’. They are part of organising two important and interesting meetings –  A Hustings meeting for the local by-election and an Elephant regeneration objectors meeting. Put the dates in your diary or phone!

They also have a brand new newsletter to read full of why the proposed regeneration is a shedload of broken promises when it comes to the promised community benefits re: housing, sustainability, transport, trees and so on.
Here!! 35 Percent Newsletter Nov 2012

• BY-ELECTION HUSTINGS MEETING
Tuesday 27th November

“There is going to a local council by-election in East Walworth on 29th November and we need to make sure that local candidates take our concerns about the regeneration of the area seriously. The 3 candidates (Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative) will be attending a ‘hustings’ public open meeting on Tuesday 27 Nov 7pm at Crossway Church, 100 New Kent Rd Se1. This will be your opportunity to quiz them on the major local issues including the regeneration plans. Organised by Elephant Amenity Network

Jerry Flynn, spokesman for the group said: “The hustings is a chance for local residents to challenge and question the potential local councillor on any issue. With so many issues emerging around the recently submitted regeneration plans, this is the opportunity to demand that the new councillor takes them seriously and is fully accountable.”

• SATURDAY 1 DECEMBER 2012 from 2.00 – 3.00 pm
A Peaceful Community Demonstration to raise awareness of inappropriate development in Blackfriars Road. In Helen Gladstone Gardens [corner of Blackfriars Road and Surrey Row SE1, opposite Imbibe]

In an unprecedented move, Blackfriars Action for Responsible Development [BARD] was created by several tenant and resident associations to promote alternative strategies for a development planned by Linden Homes.  The proposed site runs from a terrace at 169-173 Blackfriars Road extending back to rows of garages in Pocock Street.

Linden Homes are giving two options for the site:

  • 27 storey glass building on Blackfriars Road with further buildings behind ranging from 7 to 11 storeys providing 206 apartments.  This involves the closure of Surrey Row and the appropriation of a community garden belonging to the Nelson Square estate, or
  • 15 storey building on Blackfriars Road providing 123 apartments and shops at ground level

Concerned local residents say that neither of the two options are viable for the following reasons:

  • Poor and unimaginative design
  • Height, massing and overshadowing of surrounding housing
  • Loss of heritage buildings
  • Inappropriate ‘social and/or affordable’ housing for local needs
  • Lack of community facilities and insensitivity to the history and social fabric of the area
  • The appropriation of  Helen Gladstone Gardens, a garden funded initially by Southwark Council’s Joint Security Initiative [JSI] money and cared for by local resident volunteers supported by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust [BOST]

There will be a Petition to sign.  Refreshments will be provided.

• ELEPHANT REGENERATION PLANS – OBJECTIONS MEETING
Tuesday 11th December

‘We are also inviting local objectors to a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 11 December, to organise proceedings for the hearing of the Lend Lease planning applications in the coming New Year. This will involve discussing how best to approach the hearing and ensure that we make best use of the time allocated for voicing our objections. More details will be posted on our website at www.35percent.org

THE SIEGE OF THE ELEPHANT CONVERGENCE Sat 17th November 2012

The Siege of The Elephant:
A One-day Convergence
Saturday 17th November 2012

Saturday 17th November 11am – 5pm
Pembroke House
80 Tatum Street
London SE17 1QR

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Southwark Notes Archive Group* are currently inviting folks to contribute to The Siege of the Elephant, a one-day convergence against the gentrification of Elephant and Castle (and the surrounding area). The event aims to bring together local communities, activists, campaign and amenity group members and traders, as well as academics, students, researchers and members of campaign groups involved in similar regeneration/gentrification struggles in other areas of London.

There are two ways to contribute:

1) by participating to the event itself, which will take place on  Saturday 17th November  in Walworth, South London

2) and/or by submitting material to be displayed on the day and to be added to our Gentrification Archive. Submissions to the archive will also be accepted on a rolling basis from the Siege onwards.

The Siege of the Elephant
The aim of the day is to share evidence and discuss alternatives in
relation to the gentrification of North Southwark and Elephant and
Castle. The day will be divided in two parts and each will consist of
three parallel workshops followed by plenary discussions. We ask invited
contributors like you to introduce themselves and make a 5 minute
presentation on relevant evidence, work and/or experiences, which can
then be opened up for response to those at the table.

LIKELY TIMETABLE:
PART I (Morning) SESSIONS
How does gentrification work and what are its causes and effects in
Elephant and Castle?
The focus in these sessions will be on sharing evidence of:
1 – DISPLACEMENT: the displacement of existing communities (residential and commercial) and loss of public resources and amenities
2 – THE ROLE OF CONSULTATION: flaws with regeneration plans and the consultation processes (broken promises of re-housing, problems with top-down planning)
3 – THE SPIN OF REGENERATION: the role of PR and mass media narratives that support the Council’s and the developers own narratives around regeneration.

PART II (Afternoon) SESSIONS
How can we resist or alter dynamics of gentrification?
Discussing and exploring knowledge and practical ways and means that propose alternatives to regeneration as gentrification and the accompanying Local Authorities / developers’ consultations:
1 – COUNTERING DISPLACEMENT: countering the displacement of existing communities and the loss of public resources (the discontents of ‘affordable’ housing)
2 – POLITICISING CONSULTATION: resistance to empty consultation and enacting forms of local decision-making
3 – PROPOSING ALTERNATIVES: countering existing narratives of ‘failure and progress’ and promoting
alternative visions

Lunch and tea will be provided, and there may well also be time for walking
around the Heygate Estate and the Better Elephant permanent exhibition.
A finalised programme will be distributed closer to the date.

Facilitation on the day
Time is precious, so we are asking people to be selective with their contributions. Each workshop will be facilitated towards keeping the debate accessible to all and to allow time for all to contribute. Those interested in presenting evidence are asked to liaise with the organizers beforehand.

Participation In The Event:
There is no formal registration process for this event. All you need to do is write to us at:
elephantnotes@yahoo.co.uk

and we will contact you to confirm your participation and what you may be able to bring to this event – evidence, materials, facilitation skills etc.

Travel costs
We are unable to cover travel costs for all participants, but if you are
interested in coming from far and wide, do get in touch and we will
strive to contribute something from our small budget.

Contributions to Southwark Notes Gentrification Archive
We also want to use the event to expand Southwark Notes Gentrification Archive. This open-access archive attempts to hold a record of anti-gentrification struggle for the past 15 years in the North Southwark area. We are archiving books, newspaper cuttings, council brochures and academic publications on the local area as well as the local and global gentrification struggles. Let us know if you can provide us with copies of relevant work or material or if you have suggestions for work we should obtain for the archive. Material can be submitted in any format. If in digital format, we will try to print a hard copy on the day.

After the event
The evidence and discussions of the day will be compiled and a concise summary will be published and distributed for free as a small Southwark Notes pamphlet as well as online, and will include a thematic bibliography of recent research and publications.

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*Southwark Notes Archive Group run this popular anti-gentrification blog Southwark Notes that offers news, analysis and little stabs at the
gentrification of the area: https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com We have also been organising regular anti-gentrification walks, printing postcards, posters, maps and comics, and keeping active on within various groups and campaigns in the ongoing struggle whilst keeping an eye on the history (the mistakes and successes) and the big picture (globalisation, financialisation and all that!). We also maintain all this stuff and news and history in an archive within 56a Infoshop, the local Walworth self-managed community space.

(Not) Coming Soon! Walworth Rd ‘vibrant arts quarter’!

Southwark Notes Cultural Front is acting as curator for this. Late submissions, pop-up projects and performances still sought for this exciting new arts festival! Theme is: Who is the public? How is a culture made and who is it for?

Mail us for details! Please forward to creative types. Website goes live November 5th.

elephantnotes@yahoo.co.uk

Culture is never neutral!

😎

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:

phase1gatedSphase1lookingdown

“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.