Tag Archives: Heygate

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

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).

——–

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.

 

Council Is Boring on Heygate Again: Pointless Sealing Up of Walkways

Last week the Council contractors finished a week of totally pointless and presumably expensive activity on the Heygate Estate following their already vindictive and pointless attempts to remove the Heygate Community Gardens mural. A team of welders and sealer-uppers closed off the numerous walkways that people use to walk around, enjoy, have fun on, take pics from and leap off of in this as yet still piece of publicly-owned land. We have taken the pictures above from Alice C Macchi’s blog with thanks to her. As someone who enjoys running and leaping from walls on the estate, she points out in her piece that anyone who seeks to gain entry to estate for the wrong reasons will do so:

If you have a reason to be at the Heygate, putting up a barrier won’t deter you. If you have no reason to be there, it is likely that you will not be there anyway. These barriers are totally pointless. If anything they are more dangerous than safe. Usually a way in is also a way out. These barriers now block most exits and in case of danger or need there is no quick escape route. Why has council put these up before the entire estate is closed off is completely beyond me.

So these new barriers to the land are only really about slowly increasing the keeping out all the people who currently want to walk in sun and snow around the place, see the 450 trees and the mostly empty buildings, visit friends and picnic there, tend their vegetables and so on. All of those people who are never ever asked whether they actually want large welded barriers put in their way, the decision being made in some office entirely unaccountably (again).

We wonder at what level in the Council offices this waste of money and time was sanctioned?  For all the agreement and head nodding it has done over the last two years with local people who have sought to get them to realise how great the open space and old buildings are for temporary community uses, the Council seems intent on actually thwarting all the amazing things people are doing in the estate for themselves as part of the desire to provide amazing things for all.

What is particularly pathetic is that the welding shut of the walkways comes only a fortnight after the highly successful and fun for local kids Release The Wolves event where they went tearing around the Heygate walkways in mad self-souped up customised Go Karts! And this was sanctioned by the Council in the first place! Not only was the event fun fun fun, the old grey pre-cast concrete slabs of Heygate were given a right going over with colourful paintings! Simple question: Would you prefer the Heygate to walled off for years and to stand as a big grey lump or would you prefer to keep it lively and colourful?


Here‘s a link to the new somewhat bonkers paintwork up in Heygate!

UPDATE: 19th Sept
The Council released a statement today on their website stating that the blocking of the walkways is preparation for the demolition and also because of ‘a range of health and safety issues‘ (of course!). Needless to say no demolition can begin until the final leaseholders have moved off, this whole process subject to the recent CPO served and its legal challenges.

Spotted on Heygate Estate this week!

Southwark Notes In-house Creative Interns (No Wages, daily Pot Noodle and a Kit-Kat thrown in) spotted these this week on the Heygate Estate. If we are honest, they did make us laugh!

Makes a nice change from what we call the endless ruins-porn photos of Heygate that multiply day by day on the Internet. Oh..the beauty of ruins / brutalist concrete / sublime urban decay / South London safari in the wilderness.. etc etc! Blimey it’s like no-one ever actually lived, loved and died there and it’s like no-one is still living there now!

Council Says Council Not Vandals

This week’s Inside Housing magazine picked up our ever circulating story of the Southwark Council vandalism of the Heygate Community Garden paintings and murals. Here at the Notes we found it interesting that they managed to get a response from the Council whereas no replies were forthcoming to loads of people who mailed the Council complaining about this willful and spiteful attack on the efforts of local people. Does that mean that it’s easy to ignore local people’s communications but appearing in Inside Housing in a way that makes your actions look really daft to other housing and local government professionals needs some sort of reply? Answers on the usual postcard, please.

Anyhow, this was the Council reply to Inside Housing:

Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: ‘Like most councils across the UK, it is Southwark Council’s policy to remove all graffiti where it occurs on council land, or with the landowner’s permission, and to continue to maintain regeneration sites before demolition. This will include further graffiti removal across the site. Overall, we’re really keen to get on with the serious business of the regeneration of the Heygate, which is what the majority of local people want to see happen.’

Three quick points on this:


1) It wasn’t just any old graffiti that was badly painted over! It was a targeted attack on all of the murals and paintings specifically around the Community Gardens and pond.

2) Here are some recent photos of the Council’s tip-top job on Heygate of continuing ‘to maintain regeneration sites before demolition’:

The photos below show two of dozens of holes and rubble left by each flat after contractors came to remove the gas connections.

3) We wonder if Barrie Hargreave’s is attempting to smear the works of all the local people active on keeping the Heygate Community Gardens open for all when he describes how the Council wants to get on with ‘the serious business of the regeneration of the Heygate, which is what the majority of local people want to see happen‘. We can assure him that what people are doing on Heygate is an incredibly serious business. Those people are also highly aware and dubious of any attempts by the Council to play off their ‘majority’ against the local people who continue to enjoy the public green spaces within the Heygate.

The Affordables Part Six

We’re offering a Guest Writers Spot for next month’s The Affordables comic to anyone in the Council regeneration team. Just email us your three panels worth of dialogue and we’ll do the artwork! Email at the usual address.

We feel we have to say something to accompany this instalment of The Affordables and it is this – We wholeheartedly welcome the work of the Leathermarket JMB in it’s efforts to get more Council homes built in the Southwark area. This is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. However we remain tired of the much wider Council regeneration agenda and the faith that they put in it to deliver affordable housing on the back of a massive increase in expensive private homes in the area. Destroying structurally sound Council homes as part of that agenda just does not make sense.

Council records show 5656 council-owned homes demolished in the last 20 
years, including leaseholds bought back.

 By redevelopment scheme these comprise the following:

290    Bonamy
3269  North Peckham and Gloucester Grove
22      East Dulwich
148    Marcia Road/ Penry Street
47      Lamps Court
151     Linden Grove
196     Coopers Road
373     Elmington
324    Wooddene
416     Heygate including replacement sites
96      Silwood
102    Bermondsey Spa
110     Aylesbury
112     Other

TOTAL: 5656

More Heygate Community Gardens paintings

Just a small selection from some of the other Heygate Community Gardens wall paintings and drawings that are dotted around the allotment area.

Oh and we can’t forget this great collaborative effort!

Community Restores Heygate Murals After Council Vandalism

After Wednesday’s appalling council vandalism of the Heygate Community Garden murals and graffiti, local gardeners, artists, ping-pong players and other lovers of the green public space spent the last few days waving their magic hands over the ugly grey paint and restoring the artworks back to life. The Chopstick Houses piece is nearly back to life.

Here are two of the murals that we hadn’t time to photograph before the Council decided that splashes of grey paint irregularly applied was nicer than these colourful images. The one on the right was even made by a kind of famous-ish Belgian street artist or so we heard!

The nice pink Elephant was the first to be restored back to good health. A few more waves of the magic hands and she will be as pink as she was before as will the artist who put so much time into painting her on the wall. Well done everybody.

Council Spitefully Vandalise Heygate Community Gardens

Yesterday the Council in its infinite and omnipotent wisdom decided to carry out another (1) aggressive attack on the popular Heygate Community Gardens by spitefully destroying the colourful and thought-provoking artworks that have been brightening up the dull spaces within. As part of  people’s amazing efforts to keep the place public and enjoyable local artists have been welcomed in to use the old walls of houses as canvases to paint murals, graffiti and street art on. As you can see from the pics these were a collection of lovely, considered and sometimes wry artworks created for the benefit of all.

Yesterday, under the direction of Andrew Ashaye (Heygate & Aylesbury Case Management Officer), the Council aggressively decided to return the walls back to uglier and now badly painted over blank walls once again.

It was noticeable that they mostly singled out for painting over the large and thoughtful pieces around the Community Gardens and pond. As you can see from above however the rest of the estate is still covered with scribbles, tags, obscenities and so on but these remained up after the Council had done it’s paint slapping. We ask the questions: What possible offence can be caused by the Heygate murals and with what mindset does the Council operate with to come and destroy local artists work without even any warning or debate?

LET THEM KNOW THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE: We suggest that if you feel that this was an unnecessary, wholly unaccountable and aggressive act that you make your feelings known to those who carried it out and to CC in your email Peter John and Fiona Colley, who are the leading Council lights in the Regeneration Dept.

Write to:
Andrew Ashaye – andrew.ashaye@southwark.gov.uk
Peter Johnpeter.john@southwark.gov.uk
Fiona Colleyfiona.colley@southwark.gov.uk

For more than two years local people have been using the green spaces within to put into practice what the Council has been twiddling their thumbs about and that is how the space within the Estate can be used for community benefit whilst the bureaucratic stages of regeneration grind ever slowly on. Called ‘interim use’ it means that instead of sealing up the giant forest within the Heygate to await demolition in two or three years time (2), the space is maintained for exactly the sort of the thing the Heygate Community Gardeners have been doing there all along.

Not only does the act of growing flowers and vegetables, giving out free allotments, keeping chickens, running a pond, having growing and planting days, seed swaps and also showing films and having small social events maintain exactly the kind of things that grows communities, it also acts as a deterrent to crime inside the Estate. Leaseholders living on the estate have not been burgled since the community activity started something that had been a regular occurrence before.

All of this local effort and hard work comes from a desire to actually see the Heygate site as still part of the public space of The Elephant area and to maintain the enjoyment to be had at wandering amongst the 400 plus mature trees inside. As part of these acts of growing and nurturing, the work done by artists inside the estate has been welcomed and enjoyed by all involved in the Community Gardens. They were an integral part of keeping a community spirit alive against the whims and anti-social behaviour the Council engages in that pretends to care about community benefits but by it’s actions shows nothing but contempt for local people and how they make this a much needed reality here and now.

NOTES:
(1) REPEAT AD NAUSEUM, AD ABSURDUM
!
In March 2012, the Council came to the gardens and stole the pump for the pond and were threatening to remove all the exhibition stands and other objects by which we thought they meant the chairs and tables people use. It was pointed out to them that that ‘the council’s time and resources might be better spent on things including basic estate maintenance and cleaning‘. They argued that they would ‘continue to monitor the general health & safety on the site prior to demolition works taking place to ensure that the site also remains safe for the remaining residents‘. We had to laugh as the remaining residents are the only ones doing any actual looking after the site whilst the Council does nothing to the collapsing walls, holes in the paving and so on.


Before                                                           And After…

(2) OAKMAYNE DEVELOPERS ENCLOSE COMMUNITY PARK FOREVER!
This is exactly what is happening at the vast Oakmayne development site at New Kent Rd / Elephant Rd, right next door to Heygate. The site has now sat undeveloped for 6 years now. A couple of years ago without any local consultation The Council agreed to let Oakmayne destroy and seal off the popular open green space next door despite protests from local users and especially the Latino community who used it at weekends for football games. This part of the Elephant’s public lands now sits destroyed and enclosed as Oakmayne struggle to find the finances for the daftly-named Tribeca Square – New London scheme.

Lend Lease Monster Outline Planning Application – Responses and Objections

We try not to duplicate stories and responses to regeneration plans in The Elephant area that are put up on other local websites but it’s very useful to point in their direction.  So, here, we will share some links with you to the fantastic and detailed personal and community objections to the Lend Lease Outline Planning Application which is due to be heard before the Council later in the year. That’s the planning app for the knocking down of the Heygate Site and for the ‘regeneration’ of a massive chunk of the northern end of Walworth Rd across to New Kent Rd. With no real commitment to replacing the now empty 1100 Heygate Estate homes with genuine affordable housing, this Masterplan is seriously rubbish as it seeks to pile on loads of private homes on that essential close-to-the-Tube Zone 1 property developers dream site. Not to mention the unaccounted effects that increasing the local population by thousands will have on on local schools, transport, doctors and so on.


Wally Rd – From independent shops to chains?

It’s also true that once those who can pay £500,000 for a two bed apartment come in droves to the area, then the Starbucks, Pizza Express and Wagamama chains will arrive close behind and push out the local independent cafes and stores as the landlords see they can make a killing on rent increases. Then Walworth Rd will look and feel like any other boring chain-filled high street and not the diverse and fantastic place it has been for donkey’s years.

• Lend Lease Outline Planning Application objections and responses:

Elephant Amenity Network response
Peoples Republic of Southwark response
Richard Lee personal response (PDF)
Adrian Glasspool personal response (PDF)
Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations and Local TRA’s (PDF)
Southwark Living Streets (PDF)

The Outline Planning Application can be seen here. Warning! It’s made up of 191 documents and so is this almost impossible to comment on unless you have loads of time on your hands and an encyclopaedic brain and a big pencil. But I guess that’s the point really.

You can object to it in a much simpler form by visiting the Elephant 35% Campaign site here and using their online objection form. Their summarised objections are as follows:  “…that the development proposes no affordable housing and no renewable energy generation. The council’s planning policy states clearly that the development should contain a minimum of 35% affordable housing and at least 20% on-site renewable energy provision. I also object to the loss of the large number of mature trees on the site, the high number of parking spaces and the failure to provide essential cycle-route and public transport infrastructure. Finally, I object to the privatisation of the public realm on the site and loss of community facilities.”