CANADA WATER CONSULTATIVE FORUM
th February, 2004 @ 7.00pm
Apologies: Jackie Rose
MINUTES OF MEETING
CANADA WATER CONSULTATIVE FORUM
DB welcomed Forum members, the audience and invited guests..
The Minutes of the previous meeting were adopted.
The following Motions were passed:
Prompted by considerable press coverage and public interest, DB had circulated the District Auditors’ report and a letter from Southwark Council’s Chief Executive giving guidance on how to deal with this issue. PA has written to Southwark Council on behalf of Wolfe Crescent RA expressing concern over the handling of planning permission for Site D and anyone interested in a copy should speak to her. JH outlined the background to the permission granted for this site and said she felt that Sites D &E were a) divided from the main plan and b) did not seem to fit in. In addition, if the peninsula is re-designated suburban at the forthcoming Executive Meeting (19/2), the proposals will not fit in with the surrounding area either logically or intellectually.
BH pointed out that as the result of the DA’s report, public confidence in Southwark’s Development Control officers was low and many of the decisions given on a variety of sites should be looked at very closely. Whilst no criticism of councillors was intended, he felt such a damning report needed to be looked at in detail. SP felt it would be more appropriate to follow the Council’s complaints procedures and Ombudsman rather than send open letters. SP also felt that there would be opportunity to raise objections as the UDP moves through the planning process. JH felt it was legitimate to request that Exc. consider all the facts when looking at changes and additions to the planning consents as they may be significant. CLR pointed out that Sites D & E are in the ‘action area’ along with Canada Water sites, Mast Leisure etc but there were overlaps. Some aspects have gone into the UDP but BH stressed that as the SPG has not been moved forward, technically the peninsula is without any. A formal motion was therefore proposed as follows:
This Forum requests that the Executive consider designating Sites D & E as ‘suburban’ because of their location.
Proposed: JH Seconded: PA Carried: (For: 9/Against: 2)
Representatives from Wimpey’s UK subsidiary met recently with the Canada Water Campaign Planning group and they had also been invited to give an outline of their plans to the Forum. PL introduced the Wimpey team and said that he had arranged for the rubbish to be cleared from Pauline’s Garden (twice) and was currently in negotiations to open up the footpath. He explained that although they owned the area of site for Block 7 they did not control it.
Wimpeys views were as follows
• the buildings did not
relate to the canal or street frontages
He hoped they could produce a better environment with more landscaping, more sustainable, etc with appropriate vehicle access. It was hoped to get block 7 on to the site in a more appropriate form. Wimpey are hoping to arrange a consultation meeting on Saturday 13th March (possibly to be held at Alfred Salter Primary School). JF advised that 200 leaflets would be mailed shortly, together with advertisements in the local press.
DM thanked Wimpey for their efforts to clean up the garden and PA confirmed that she had seen gardeners at work. It was understood that Southwark;s legal department and Wimpey were currently discussing whether Pauline’s Garden could be re-opened and CLH agreed to investigate and provide feedback at the next Community Council meeting. Jezzer asked whether there would be incompatibility with the designation between suburban and what is proposed? JH&BH quoted extensively from the Mayor of London’s PTAL index and said that currently 242 units are planned. MW expressed surprise at the number envisaged on a site of 0.7 hectare. CWC Planning Group had undertaken extensive local research on heights and densities and a copy of their findings would be sent to Jezzer to provide a comparison. DB thanked Wimpey for attending the Forum.
A Motion had recently been circulated to Forum members and had been replaced. BH stressed that the UDP has failed the peninsula. This will have a detrimental effect on Downtown (and Quebec Way, the Mulberry site, the Fisher Athletic and other sites) and it is vital that an SPG is done quickly. Crucial statements contained in the UDP appear to be erroneous and they need to be corrected to protect local sites. JH felt that SPG for the area is crucial as the new plan is scant with little detail. CLR said that most local residents and the community are in agreement that the Downtown proposals constitute over-development. Local representatives have responded by seeking for re-designation of the area. JH was concerned that only two developers submitted proposals for Downtown and the panel were not happy with either. The Executive’s decision on re-designation is crucial as it will provide guidance. JH was greatly relieved that political commitment to the area would preserve the surrounding verges.
The following Motion was agreed:
‘The Forum considers that in terms of the current UDP and the London Plant that proposals for the Downtown site need to be brought forward based on the site’s PTAL index. Further, that proposals relating to planning gain should be open and transparent and agreed with the community. Accordingly, the Forum resolves that an SPG needs to be brought forward to cover the Rotherhithe Penninsula.’
Proposed: CLR Seconded: CGB Carried (For: 9/Abstentions: 2)
City Farm: A further cause of concern had been a ‘land swap’ between the City Farm and the proposed Downtown site. This had been the subject of extensive Email correspondence recently. The Farm currently sits on open land and is a site of nature conservation. JH spoke for many when she said any idea of this land swap was inconceivable. She was also concerned that the proposal to prevent development on the Downtown site and the possibility of social housing may have been behind the wish to move the farm to the Downtown site. Many were unhappy that the Farm could be ‘steam-rollered’ and it appears that the Farm’s Management Committee, staff and volunteers had not been consulted. JH also pointed out that Downtown has dismal transport links.
CGB agreed with JH and advised
that he had spoken to the Chair of the Farm’s Management Committee.
The Farm has experienced a year of turmoil, ie suspension and re-instatement
of funding, etc and staff/volunteers are greatly alarmed at any idea
to move the Farm. CGB felt a marker has been put down and to move the
Farm was not acceptable.
Finally, SC of DDC welcomed re-designation but was keen to hear what effect this would have on the current proposal? Green Issues were organising workshops and a consultation exercise and SC felt that if the area were to be re-designated, the process would be irrelevant at this stage. NA disagreed as he felt it would provide the developers with much-needed feedback and the Executive’s decision will be known by the time of workshops. SC was sceptical as he felt, once again, insufficient notice had been given. In addition, most local residents were under the impression that they could not discuss heights and densities (only aesthetics) and if this was the case, there was very little point in attending workshops as it left little else to discuss. NA pointed out that heights and densities can now be discussed. SC felt that this key reversal had not been widely publicised.
DM (as Chair of Friends of Russia Dock Woodland) advised that the developers had never spoken to their group and yet publicity intimated that they are part of the consultation process. Whilst he was happy to ‘take money from anyone’, DM wanted to clarify that the group did not agree with the current proposals. NA pointed out the RDW had been nominated to receive an allocation of planning gain monies and it would be for the group themselves to allocate spending. MW asked whether the amount of money awarded related to the number of units proposed? NA advised that the school would be getting a small amount of money and that a proposed community centre would get ‘3 or 4’ times as much as the school or RDW. He also advised that it was early days as contracts with Southwark had only taken place 3 weeks ago. After lengthy discussion, the following Motion was agreed:
‘This Forum rejects the suggestion that the City Farm move to the Downtown site against the wishes of the Farm and without consultation with the Farm’s Trustees and Management Committee and the local residents’
Proposed: JH Seconded: CLR Carried: (For: 9/ Absentions: 2)
St Paul’s Fields: NR gave an outline of early ideas for St Paul’s
Fields, Salter Road . The site is designated Borough Open Land and Bacons
CTC has a lease with approx. 10 years remaining. The proposal is to hand
back the lease when the Mellish Field facility comes on line in 2005.
Initial thoughts propose a facility that is widely accessible to the
community (not just sport driven) which would include education.. JH
stressed the need for a facility that offers youngsters a variety of
affordable activities. However, JH was extremely concerned that the St
Paul’s development was in some way connected with plans for Fisher
Athletic. NR confirmed that development of the two sites (Mellish and
St Paul’s) were NOT determined by Fisher Athletic/Barratt’s
application and there was no financial relationship. NR also confirmed
that external funding was well underway for Mellish (with some Council
support) and he hoped to do the same at St Paul’s. As highlighted
on many previous occasions, MW stressed that facilities for young people
can be expensive and costs should be kept to a minimum. NR agreed and
said that whilst he can provide no guarantees, he aims to minimise barriers.
He is hoping for a mix of provision and a suggestion was to offer more
expensive activities (eg a climbing wall) to enable the free provision
of skateboard and cycle tracks. A feasibility study is to be commissioned
and DB suggested that SYC be asked to contribute. CLR felt St Paul’s
should ‘complement’ what is on offer at Mellish Fields and
the following was agreed:
NR agreed to keep the Forum updated on developments.
Mellish Fields: NR thanked the Forum for it’s significant input into the plans for Bacon’s. Terms of a management agreement had been recently agreed with Bacons CTC. It was confirmed that the new facility will include guaranteed access for non-sporting activities with flexible rooms and a range of community uses. A 2nd floor has also been included following consultation with the community. Of the 2000 leaflets circulated, only 1 objection had been received and the planning application received approval recently under delegated powers. NR will provide a copy of the Executive Report for circulation to Forum members. It is hoped that all-weather pitches will be ready in Summer 2005 and the natural turf pitch the following summer (May 2006). St Paul’s will operate concurrently until Mellish is fully operational. Whilst JH was delighted to hear the proposals for both St Paul’s and Mellish Fields, she felt that a proposed date of spring 2006 highlighted the need for temporary provision now. Given current consultation regarding Mellish/St Paul’s, SP felt money could be better spent on permanent sites rather than short-term. Forum noted his comment NR agreed to return to the Forum and provide an update.
Fisher Athletic/Barratts: Forum had recently learned of a proposal to sell Met. Open Land surrounding Fisher Athletic. JH raised concern at any such possibility and asked that information be provided on the disposal of Met. Open Land. JH understood that a planning application was submitted in December 2003 for a mix of housing, a school and low rise flats (203 accommodation units) on the site which she felt would not fit a suburban classification. No consultation or notices has taken place. In addition, trees screening the car-park had already been severely cut back. DM pointed out that the trees had been felled to reduce crime/vandalism and coaches using the YHA had already benefited. The following action was suggested:
• Obtain information
on the disposal of Met. Open Land
BH stated that the 2nd draft UDP contained 2 pages on Canada Water and he felt the planners had not listened to our vision and have missed key points. Canada Water is a district, not strategic, centre and to avoid continued future conflict, the issue needs to be resolved.
The lack of SPG and the comments regarding the 2nd draft had been discussed at length under several items (Site D, Downtown, Fisher, etc) and
British Land: Discussions with British Land were proceeding and SP advised that the Terms were almost agreed. He also advised that Southwark Property/British Land were now concentrating on discussions concerning planning policy and getting the UDP through. SP agreed that the UDP needs to be in place for future decisions as soon as possible.
Tesco: DB had tabled a note
on a recent meeting attended by Tesco representatives, MW and PA. DB
expressed disappointment at the tone of that meeting and has written
to Tesco expressing this view. Whilst the group had hoped to represent
the aspirations of the community, it seems Tesco may only have been
interested in showing that they ‘consulted the community’.
DB further commented that the representatives had not done their homework
and were only interested in discussing the planning application (the
version submitted to Southwark in July 2003). As Forum Chair, DB had
found it difficult to remain even-handed and was both disappointed and
embarrassed to have to report this back to the Forum.
Mulberry site: The Forum had recently become aware that a planning application had been submitted on the Mulberry business site. SP confirmed that an application for mixed-use – predominantly housing – was submitted and that talks were in pre-application stage. SP was asked to provide details of who the applicant is for this site and the stage of discussions.
Mobile phone’ Masts:
• Send a formal note
of thanks on behalf of the Forum
SC provided some good news in that the young man badly attacked in RDW was making excellent progress. The original prognosis had been dreadful but he has come out of his coma and after returning home will be visiting Rotherhithe shortly to meet with the residents who came to his aid and visiting him in hospital as well as sending flowers and get well messages.
The following action was agreed:
• DB to draft a public
letter to the Mayor of London
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