CANADA WATER CONSULTATIVE FORUM
22nd March, 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:
In response to the Forum’s invitation, BAD gave a presentation which he hoped would allay fears on the proposed development involving the sale of Metropolitan Open Land . He outlined two schemes and provided background to the negotiations that have taken place over a period of 7 years. BAD also stressed that he was not financially involved but as Vice-President of Fisher Athletic his main concern was to ensure it’s survival and provide facilities for the local community, particularly youth. It was originally hoped that a joint project between Fisher/Mellish may have been possible but BAD was recently advised that LBS no longer wished to pursue this option and land must therefore be sold at the appropriate rate.
Terms had recently been agreed by LBS which allowed Fisher to purchase the freehold of the MOL; he believed this involved only the pitch itself and contained a condition that there could be ‘no disposal’. BH checked the most recent copy of the Southwark Plan which appeared to show that the whole area was, shown as MOL (a fact BAD was unaware of). The expected re-designation to suburban will also impact on the size of any development. The two schemes are as follows:
Scheme I (original): A 7 storey block - 203 flats (51 social housing) – pitch to remain in situ.
Scheme II: Re-alignment of pitch, complete new stadium, low level floodlights, liftable nets, a gym, possible pool, community use of facilities and a possible link to Bacon. A similar density to Scheme 1, it will include underground car parking. and Admin offices on ground level.
Concern was expressed that the development would over-shadow the 2 storey houses; it was felt that the high land value would inevitably lead to increased height/density. MW felt local people would be keen to see Fisher’s ground survive and enhanced and suggested looking at alternative sources of funding. SC was dismayed to report a perception that sites likely for redevelopment are allowed to become dumping grounds. Margaret Smith of a PRU presently housed on the site expressed serious concern that the education unit had been given notice to vacate by August. She was worried that an early suggestion of re-building the school was not developed once Barratt’s learned of the school’s nature. She was very concerned for the future of the 32 children presently at the school. BAD explained that the lease had always been temporary. Cllr Gavin O’Brien agreed to investigate. BAD answered a variety of questions from the floor and Pat Platt stressed that the present infrastructure with regard to doctors etc was already over-stretched.
BH asked when LBS would advertise the proposed sale of MOL in accordance with legislation? It was his understanding following a statement made by Simon Hughes MP that ‘the highest designation applies to metropolitan open land’. SP clarified the position by advising that it is not a requirement to consult prior to permission being granted but that consultation would follow. BH felt very strongly that residential housing was not one of the uses permitted on MOL and further felt that Fisher/BAD should not have been encouraged to pursue this proposal. His further objections were (i) way over development for a suburban site, (ii) ptal ratings are 2 or 3 (ie poor), (iii) approx. 1200 per hectare out of scale and (iv) 7 storey block overlooking 2/3 bedroom houses. BH again stressed the need for an ‘overall vision for the area’ and said that MOL belongs to the people living here and asked that ward councillors step in to protect the land. SP said that a special decision had been taken on this site to ensure the continued success of Fisher and that the public would be fee to make any objections to the plan. MW referred to guidance from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office which encourages communities to be involved at the beginning as opposed to when a great deal of money has already been expended.
BH pointed out that their could be restrictions on the land (UDP/London Plan) and he hoped other solutions could be found.
In conclusion, BAD said that Fisher had looked for a partner that would secure a future for Fisher Athletic and facilities available for local youth. He hoped that agreement on a deal would be reached shortly and stressed that plans were not ‘set in stone’. He was happy to meet and discuss the plans with stakeholder groups (TAs etc) and CWC were pleased to accept this offer. The following resolution was passed:
‘Southwark Council should investigate alternative ways of supporting and ensuring the continued existence of Fisher Athletic and ways that would not involve the sale of Metropolitan Open Land ’.
Proposed: JH Seconded: PA
For: 4 Against: 0 Abstentions: 4 Carried;
Grateful thanks were extended to Barry Albin-Dyer for presenting an outline of the plans.
Nigel Robinson was not able to attend the Forum but hoped to update the next meeting. However, PR advised that discussions had taken place to engage consultants to look at pulling the various streams together (ie education, environment and leisure, etc). It was hoped that they would look at the feasibility and hear what the community would like to see. A number of schemes have already looked at what facilities are needed and it was hoped to include information gained from previous studies. PR will be working in conjunction with NR and it was hoped to provide further detail at the next Forum.
PA had attended the Exhibition and had asked Wimpey to provide viewboards of the alternative schemes proposed but to date these had not been forthcoming. She further understood that feedback on the questionnaires would be analysed over the coming week and the Forum will be given a copy. PA outlined the proposals which included the original submission and 3 new schemes but primarily include a ‘Horseshoe’ and a ‘Tower’. PA felt all 3 options were not suitable for the site, and was disappointed that the questionnaire was misleading in that it asked which scheme was preferred – as with previous developments it did not ask whether ANY of the schemes were liked. JH also felt the heights/densities to be inappropriate for the site with ‘uninspiring’ horseshoe and a tower with 26 storeys. JT of Redriff TA commented that whilst they are not close to the site, he was minded to write saying they did not favour any of the schemes. He further suggested that future development of this site wait for the masterplan to fit in with the wider context. SC had visited the Exhibition and was extremely disappointed to see proposals for a 26 x storey tower. He felt that developers are using ‘red herrings and scare-mongering’ tactics’ to frighten the community into accepting lower densities rather than tower blocks.
BH outlined the position in that planning permission has been granted on the original scheme which is not liked. He felt developers had not responded to the ‘low, clean and green’ message but this may be due to the fact that they paid a very high price for the land (£25 million - £12 million an acre) and they are trying to recoup that cost. BH felt the Exhibition publicity had been poor at best and residents living 500m from the site had not received any invitation. BH considered this to be a dereliction of duty on Wimpey’s part and a poor standard of public consultation. PA and a number of Forum members felt the Canada Water exhibition had been extremely successful thanks to LBS. It was therefore agreed that DB would write expressing the general view of the Forum:
a) Disappointed with the inadequate advertising (ie no advertisements in S. News, Community Council, TA meetings or by letter to local community) and local consultation.
b) The leading nature of the questionnaire did not ask if none of the designs were acceptable. The drawings available did not provide height, density, etc (only when asked).
c) There were no hand-outs for T&RA reps to take back to their groups. The promised exchange of new designs etc has not yet materialised. Bob Muid had yet to receive any information requested for the CWC website.
SP was pleased to report that negotiations are progressing well and it was hoped that Heads of Terms could be agreed shortly. Lawyers are presently involved with drafting the Terms and once they are completed, SP expects British Land to embark on a programme of community consultation. Until such time as the Terms were formally agreed, British Land had seen little point in expending large sums of money. They are however keen to invest in the project. David Taylor expects to attend the next Forum.
SP agreed with BH that a framework for the peninsula, recently re-classified as suburban, does require fuller SPG. SP understood that this was currently being prepared. JH enquired when a planning application is likely to be submitted and SP expected a planning application outline to be submitted relatively quickly, possibly at the end of the summer. As far as an SPG for the peninsula, it will probably be more detailed over the central core and it will look at the infrastructure, including transport. SP further advised that as the UDP is now on 2 nd deposit, attention will look at an SPG for Rotherhithe.
In response to PR’s recently circulated paper on the future consultation strategy, PA had forwarded the CWC’s comments to PR and asked whether a revised paper incorporating the comments would be circulated. PR advised that in principle, suggestions had been added to the document. PA asked whether any other groups had responded? PR advised that DT was keen to meet with all those who have expressed interest/comments and meetings would be organised for the Forum and the CWC. JH asked why the document referred specifically to meeting with Abbeyfield/Cherry Garden groups which only cover a small part of the area? It also failed to mention consulting RAs or registered landlords not within Abbeyfield/Cherry Gardens. Housing Association, Leaseholder and the private sector must also be included. PR proposed one-off events to target Housing Associations, T&RAs. etc, currently not represented on the Forum – it was simply question of wording. It was suggested that Brunswick Quay Residents alone represented a significant number and BM agreed to tap into those residents. PA asked whether Minutes of previous meetings with council tenants were available? PR advised that there were none but it may be possible to report back to the Forum. PR hoped to set guidelines to manage consultation, ie build an obligation into the contract which sets minimum standards of consultation. JR to be advised/keep a record of any groups wishing to meet with British Land .
No further news on the above – BH looked forward to receiving a copy.
Sites A/B/C: Nothing to report.
Site D: See action point above
Site E: Advised that consultants have been appointed to consider HQ objections regarding noise at roof level and they will be conducting a survey of noise pollution. A duplicate application has been submitted and an Appeal for non-determination. SP agreed to advise dates of applications. JH advised that Appeal Notice had not been circulated. NA advised that application was submitted in November and Community Council were awaiting outcome of noise survey. He further understood that one of the applications had been appealed (original or duplicate). JH felt the matter may have to go to public enquiry and Cllr Gavin O’Brien agreed to investigate the appeal position.
Downtown: DB advised that he had recently met with Green Issues to discuss the role of the Forum and it’s willingness to do what it can to find areas of agreement. SC spoke at length on the views of DDC and it’s supporters (60 road reps). In summary, he was disappointed that the re-classification to suburban had only resulted in a reduction of 18 flats (now 280), ie 6%. He felt the ‘jelly’ had merely been pushed outwards and right up to the road. He felt the price of the land had been too high. He also criticised the dissemination of information and referred to a questionnaire completed by 500 local residents. He felt that of the two hectares of land being developed, one could be classified as derelict but the other is ‘green land’. NA advised that approximately 50 came to the exhibition and a smaller leaflet had been produced. He felt that the developers had listened to local concerns having reduced their original development from 425 flats to 280 and that this could deliver a good scheme. SC disagreed and said that one of the early schemes talked of 15 storeys with 625 flats which he felt was ‘scare-mongering’. In contrast, JT felt the DDC’s embargo on attending the exhibition/workshops had weakened the case and was disappointed that some people had not spoken for themselves. SC was keen to point out that until the DDC AGM, they had been given to understand that discussion on heights and densities would not be permitted. NA had then advised that it would be acceptable to talk about these areas of concerns – SC was happy to provide the copies of the exchange of documents to substantiate his case if required.
The idea of a bus ‘looping’ the peninsula only had, once again, been raised at the Workshop. DB would like the Forum’s agreement to write to TfL suggesting that this suggestion be investigated and costed. Ideally, the route would remain solely on the peninsula and not touch Rotherhithe Roundabout or Lower Road .
The following was suggested:
A route starting at Albion Street , stopping at the Job Centre thereafter proceeding around the ‘loop’ to Surrey Quays Road and Canada Water Tube station.
Tesco: An Appeal has been lodged for non-determination of their planning application and LBS recently deferred the Appeal at Community Council. The matter will now be taken up by the Inspectorate and letters must be received by 25 th March, 2004 . A number of members had already written, Cllr Rajan, Canada Water Campaign and Redriff TA. JH felt very strongly that the representative sent by Tesco’s to speak at the Community Council meeting had publically said that he did not know anything about the scheme so could not comment. DB advised that he had send a private letter to Tesco expressing a view that the meeting he had with their representatives could not be construed as a ‘consultation’. PA advised that a duplicate application had been submitted which included a strategically placed mirror. The proposals were considered of poor design and public safety was in question. It was generally felt a better job could have been done had more community consultation taken place. The Chair referred to Cllr Rajan’s letter on the subject and the points made were specifically endorsed by the Forum. Given the feeling on the proposal, DB would write to the Inspectorate on behalf of the Forum.
Mulberry Business Centre: BH felt it ‘was a mess’. He had learned that negotiations had taken place with LBS going back to July 2003. and they have been given to understand a mixed-use site was acceptable. He felt it was over-development, situated in the wrong place, residential housing immediately adjacent to HQ and Alfred Salter School . PA had studied the glossy brochure and no mention whatsoever had been made of the school. In particular, the service access had been situated opposite the school and she felt this would lead to inevitable problems. It also took away light from the school, Wolfe Crescent residents and possibly HQ. Reference to other buildings, Site E was assumed the planning application was accepted.
BH was particularly unhappy that the industrial site zoning had been changed by planning officers without consultation or submission of planning applications thereby effectively leaving it without any designation. BH referred to the most recent copy of the Southwark Plan map and the area is clearly shown as industrial. He felt the design to be similar to the worst of the 1960’s council housing and he would expect this could lead to another public enquiry.
BH had only recently learned of a group of officers, Major Applications Forum, tasked to deal with applications of this size. BH asked Cllr O’Brien to investigate who actually sits on this Forum, what their powers, who are they accountable to and who do they report to, lastly, who do they represent? Are these officers permitted to make decisions on designations without consultation.
JH referred to the recent CWC Planning Group with Mulberry developers. She felt they had not come to consult the community as a duplicate application had already been submitted – they also stated they would appeal if the application was refused. She felt that this area should remain industrial and it is matter for community consultation if the designation is to be changed. JH felt it’s design was totally inappropriate and the close proximity to HQ make it unsuitable for residential housing – both Site E and Mulberry act as a ‘buffer’. The development was unsuitable on the grounds of height, density and loss of light. Reference to an under-used public transport system appeared to show that developers had not down their homework properly. In her opinion, the object of the exercise had been to bring about a change of use to increase land values for sale on to another developer.
Cllr O’Brien agreed to investigate and report back to the next Forum. It was felt that the following Minute should be made available to Community Council:
Proposal for Mulberry Business Centre:
The proposals submitted make no mention of the site’s close proximity to Alfred Salter Primary school or Wolfe Crescent only buildings in the other direction. The proposals were inappropriate for a number of reasons height, density and will cause a loss of light to the school. In addition, it’s close proximity to Harmsworth Quays and many of the problems associated with Site E would affect this site.
Cllr. O’Brien agreed to investigate and URGENTLY report back to next Forum prior to next meeting (24/5) as information required to challenge Appeals:
Quebec Way : It was believed that the new UDP would allow de-designation to allow for a secondary school. BH felt the timing was unfortunate as CWC and others had lobbied hard for the City Academy to be built here. The Council, having sold the land for a high price to developers, will need to expend considerable sums to purchase it back. BH was not happy that 200-300 jobs might also be lost.
BH requested ‘open debate’ on issues of this nature and expressed disappointment that information was not placed in the public domain. SP was able to confirm that they would be seeking the community’s views. In closing, BH said that Downtown could have provided a better site.
Olympics 2012: British Land should be advised that they must ‘factor in’ new housing and additional strains incurred by 10,000 news homes in the Stratford area. With or without a successful Olympic bid, increased passenger numbers etc will place further strain on Jubilee Line and other transport links.
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland : AGM at 6.30pm on 31st March @ Bacons School
REVISED PROGRAMME OF DATES:
DATE OF NEXT MEETING AMENDED TO 24TH MAY
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