CANADA WATER CONSULTATIVE FORUM
24th May, 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.
Mark Rymell (MR) of Slough Estates outlined Tesco store extension plans which are the first stage of a larger expansion of the wider site. The original design raised concerns about moving the footpath and how this could affect crime and personal safety. Tesco were keen to work with the Forum, CWC and the community to find an acceptable solution prior to the forthcoming Appeal for non-determination (due to be heard in November). Having undertaken a consultation exercise, Tesco listened to the CWC’s views and addressed the issues raised with a revised scheme which includes:
PA confirmed that the new scheme addressed most of the issues that had concerned the CWC and she was waiting for feedback. To-date the response had been favourable. CDH felt the scheme was a great improvement on the original design (which he felt justified refusal). MW was keen to see the scheme passed by Southwark Council and built as quickly as possible as it was far better than the present design. DM asked that future improvements include upgraded shopping trolleys so as to prevent them being left around the peninsula. DM also hoped that the public right of way would remain open/accessible during building work. MR felt that companies were keen to abide by health and safety issues and he gave an assurance that they would ensure that the route-way stays open during construction. A member of the Tesco team confirmed that a new fleet of trolleys would be provided. DB (without his chair hat) commented that a radical study needed to be undertaken to look at alternate deposit points (ie Canada Water underground) and other drop-off points around the peninsula which would encourage more people to walk. Gary Willis asked whether the amphitheatre steps were original feature of the old dock (these will be demolished) and it was confirmed that they were not, merely a design feature.
A member of the audience asked whether the steps to Redriff were necessary as they were no doubt costly. MR advised that they had consulted a number of experts on the safety/crime aspect and it was felt that the stairs provided a second means of escape/access and therefore they were relevant for the site.
BH thanked Tesco and Slough Estates for listening to the CWC/community’s concerns. He took the opportunity of stressing that the Forum/Campaign were not about ‘stopping development’ and merely wanted the best. DB will write formally thanking Tesco for consulting on the concerns raised and endorsing the revised scheme.
AF had recently circulated an update. He advised that Terms had been agreed in principle and a draft is being prepared for signature. It was hoped to meet with the Master Planners shortly to discuss a timetable for the next 3-6 months. AF will circulate a further update once this meeting scheduled for next week has taken place.
PR advised that David Taylor ( British Land ) had been indisposed recently and as soon as he is back he hopes to meet with the Forum.
UDP: JS outlined the background to the 2 nd deposit of the UDP and reiterated her earlier advice that people need to provide written support or objections during the next month as future decisions on planning will be based on the UDP and it is vital to demonstrate clearly what residents do or do not support. To date 1500 comments from 200 people had been received to the first draft, a quarter of which were from the Canada Water area. Slough Estates had been the only developers who expressed comments. Following local comment, policies affecting Canada Water have been changed. Other significant changes include:
(another school is also proposed for Old Kent Road )
BH asked on what basis the changes had been made and JS responded that Policy & Planning had listened to the community’s views and taken appropriate action. BH pointed out that CWC/Forum had asked been asking to include the wider area for several years and had been told it was not feasible (ie school, inclusion of surrounding sites D, E, Leisure Park, etc); in addition the re-designation as an Action area had been amended without consultation. BH felt Govt. guidelines encouraging local consultation, particularly on major issues had been ignored. JS commented that Govt. for London and the GLA had requested that sites of all major regeneration areas be included as 1 st draft contained insufficient detail. JS advised that a future development framework is planned but the revision of the UDP will continue as the previous one is outdated. BH/PA/MW complained that a large majority had experienced delays and were yet to receive the 2 nd draft. Additionally, the Southwark website is using an old plan with incorrect designations.
SPG: JS advised that LBS were currently awaiting informed comment and still taking advice on what form the SPG should take. JT felt it a ‘weakness’ to decant the large amount of detail/public response into a small supplement. JS stressed that all comments were taken into consideration and they were contained in a consultation reports. Format for recording all comments will be the same as that of UDP. Anyone can comment on the SPG but again, only on items where there has been a change. BH on behalf of the CWC and other Forum members expressed the following:
Rotherhithe Street is shown as the main access road - should be SALTER ROAD
Will there be any compulsory purchase?
Why expend so much money and time now if another plan is proposed?
When and why have site designations changed?
Area is suburban and a good district centre (not an action area)
CWC are not happy with the removal of the industrial (local employment) sites;
Education facilities - CWC had proposed at the outset that the new City Academy be built here (now being built on green space and allotments);
Mulberry Business Site – why were developers led to believe that B1 (industrial classification) could be changed to residential? Why were the Forum/community not advised of discussions going on since summer 2003? Who makes such a decision?
Site E & Mulberry effectively ‘buffer’ sites to protect from noise of Harmsworth Quays – if Mulberry has it’s B1 classification, why doesn’t Site E (in view of close proximity)?
CWC felt that development is leading planning with little consultation with the community; he also asked that the whole process be more open and transparent and said that in his view proper planning guidance was urgently needed for the peninsula in view of the number of applications.
JS spent some time responding to the above comments. The document will receive the support of Members and full Council. The Mulberry designation was confirmed following specific request for employment to remain on the site and to include mixed use. As with the UDP, GFL and GLA submitted objections for not demonstrating how LBS would meet housing targets and specifically requested that proposal sites clearly indicate why any particular site was not considered suitable to be wholly housing.
Employment: BH asked whether comments on employment were in the public domain and what are government guidelines on this aspect? JS advised that buildings providing employment have no set limit/density and no national guidance is available on numbers. Buildings could rise to 8 storeys around transport links or ‘actions areas.
In response to criticism that the consultation on the Southwark Plan would be costly and ineffective given that the exercise will need to be repeated again every 3 years, CDH said a review of the UDP was essential and wide consultation is an important and necessary part. JH believed that the GLA were hoping a further hectare of the Borough could be set aside for industrial space and JS advised that areas of Bermondsey and Old Kent Road would be utilised as it was felt they had the transport links/better facilities to support employment. She also advised that Canada Water was not considered a good site for industry (ie traffic jams, increased use of car and haulage, proximity to good transport links)
Housing: JH felt current planning consent for Site D in excess of 450 rooms per hectare ‘busts’ guidelines and asked whether this density figure is what Southwark Council would look to in the future? She referred to low ptal scores. JH felt LBS were easily attaining Borough housing goals (and London Plan); JS confirmed that housing around Canada Water station could go higher than the 6 storeys considered standard for the area (a height of 6-10 had originally been proposed). It was believed that Southwark are currently reaching 80-100% of housing targets prior to completion of regenerations schemes at Elephant & Castle, Bermondsey Spa, Bermondsey Square , London Bridge, etc.
St. Paul ’s Fields: Proposal site for improvement and leisure facility. Open land.
Harmsworth Quays: The site had been re-designated to ‘retain the current level of employment’ but also refers to “and any other uses”. JS was asked to clarify the designation and advised ‘…. You could bit HQ bigger or re-developed in a different way which could have other uses…’. LH expressed surprise and suggested a representative from DMGT would be in contact to discuss this amendment.
Deadline extended until FRIDAY 9 th JULY 2004
Contact Julie Seymour directly (7525 0508) or Sarah Coady/Kate McAser
if you have any queries or you wish to discuss issues further.
DB had circulated a briefing note to the Forum following a recent meeting with Andrew Boag of TfL. A ‘loop bus’ serving the Rotherhithe peninsula only had been suggested and DB had taken the idea to Assembly Member for London, Val Shawcross and the Community Council, both of whom supported the idea. TfL agreed (in principle) that an overall strategic study of transport issues around Lower Road should be undertaken and would also consider the feasibility of a loop bus providing a ‘better’ service. DB advised that LBS Traffic officer and the Rotherhithe Community Council supported the idea and added that the Forum believed that a radical and thorough study was necessary. Increased housing densities at Deptford, North Greenwich , the growth of Canary Wharf and the regeneration of Stratford , Bermondsey and Canada Water can only exacerbate the problems already being experienced.
JSh outlined the internal group’s role and stressed it was NOT decision making and did not approve or refuse applications. The group comprised of representatives from the policy planning team, traffic and officers and was merely a group of colleagues who informally discussed various planning items amongst themselves. A Q&A session followed and BH asked if these meetings could lead to recommendation from officers to the planning committee? JSh felt that hypothetically it could do but said that whilst some applications are dealt with by officers with delegated powers, larger applications would be dealt with at Community Council/full planning committee. BH felt that the Council should make a decision and not the officer and he asked whether agenda and notes of meetings, etc were publicly available. JSh said that the system was open and transparent and BH would be welcome to write in and ask what has happened on any particular matter. JH expressed concern that an applicant may be encouraged to invest time and money to work up a plan on the advice of officers when it clearly deviates from the both the old and new Southwark Plan. A case in point was the recent Mulberry application (industrial to residential) where developers had been in discussion with officers for the past 8 months. She felt officers’ action at this early stage had indicated that non-compliance is potentially acceptable without reference to councillor or anyone else. JSh stressed that the MAF did not consider the planning application but merely discussed issues of design, conservation, traffic considerations, etc. JSh also said that all applications are measured against the UDP to ensure that it does not breach policy. DB commented that there appeared to be a failure to meet Govt. guidelines on the requirement for planning applications to be discussed at an early stage and was keen to find a way of bridging the democratic deficit. DB asked whether there is a route for closer consultation on major applications? JS confirmed that it was Southwark’s policy to encourage developers to approach the local community in the case of major schemes and he stressed that councillors will ask whether developers have taken this course of action when considering their applications. BH further commented that there have been cases where officers have recommended mixed use when it clearly inappropriate (ie Site E and Mulberry Business - both adjacent to Harmsworth Quays printing depot). CDH pointed out that Executive members do not always accept officers’ recommendations and they would also be mindful of objections submitted. At this point, PA asked whether a note of objections accompanies application put before Planning Committee? It was her understanding that officers ‘precis’ these objections ant his may not necessarily provide an accurate summation. Asked whether the original documents were reviewed, it appeared that only the summaries (prepared by officers) were available. JS stressed that every application is looked at by two cases officers and they are checked thoroughly before submission to the Planning Committee who also question officers.
Jim Sherry had accepted the Forum’s invitation to provide an update on the various sites:
Site C (03-AP-1813 - Decathlon):
A revised scheme had been submitted and a decision was expected shortly.
Site D (03-AP- 0941): Refused earlier and advised to contact Arboriculturist
Site D ( 02-AP-0797): Variation of opening hours – this has already been withdrawn.
Site D (02-AP-1843) Block 7 – Nursery/Pauline’s Garden)
A report is being drafted and a decision should be made within the next few weeks but refusal is likely.
Site E (03-AP-0637 & 03-AP-2071)
The application has gone to Appeal and there will be Public Enquiry on 16/11. Noise issues remain unresolved and further information is awaited.
A planning application was awaited; early information on the scope of an environment assessment had been submitted and additional information to support the application had been requested.
Development of Fisher:
JS advised that pre-application discussions had taken place with the Chairman. It was believed that Fisher may now be considering their position in light of MOL policies. LBS would need to submit any application regarding the sale of Metropolitan Open Land to the Mayor of London and there would also be a need for local consultation.
NB: A statement from Barry Albin-Dyer is attached (see Appendix I).
Mulberry Business Site (04-AP-0337 & 04-AP-0338):
Planning had received a request asking whether the scope has been correct prior to submission. A response will be sent during the next couple of weeks but JS believed a full impact assessment report would be necessary. The 2 applications (duplicates) are currently out for consultation and will probably go to Committee in July. JH commented that the proposals contradict the 2 nd draft of the UDP.
A comprehensive presentation had been given by the Tesco/Shopping Centres’ team and the Forum’s consensus was extremely favourable towards the revised design.
Quebec Way (03-AP-2270) : Received 2 nd December and approved 31 st January, 2004 .
JS advised that the position is difficult as operators will generally ask for prior approval before submission or ‘if there is a more suitable site than the one proposed’ when objections are raised. No easy response.
Sites A and B: No news to report.
DB proposed a vote of sincere thanks to Peter Brooks who would be leaving the area shortly to take UP a new post. Peter had supported the Forum from it’s inception and for some time was the only local business representative. His input has been considerable and he has made a real contribution towards the future of Canada Water. A formal expression of the Forum’s thanks would be sent to Peter with all good wishes for the future. It was anticipated that Peter’s successor would assume the role of Forum local business representative.
The following elections had been arranged and JR would advise details of the remaining election dates as soon as this information was available (Council, Leaseholder and Voluntary Sector):
Canada Water Campaign (3) 7.00pm Monday, 21 st June Alfred Salter Primary
Pvt. Sector Residents (2) 7.00pm Wednesday, 21 st July Time & Talents
Feedback from a local resident:
BM reported on an exchange of emails between himself (private sector rep.) and a local resident which he read aloud (Appendix II). To summarise, the local resident wanted to know the composition of the Forum, how members were elected and how he could air his views. He personally wanted to see more restaurants, bars, leisure facilities and a varied (and better quality) of shopping facilities; he concerned at the emphasis placed on providing youth facilities when the area was starved of amenities and vibrancy. Like many fellow residents, he left the area to shop, eat, etc. He was unaware that many Forum members supported improved facilities in addition to preservation of the waterside character and it’s wildlife. A lively debate followed and a number of issues where discussed including rising crime amongst youngsters and the recent spate of arson attacks. The Forum were pleased to hear Mr Munro’s comments and it was agreed that information on our role be given to his RA secretary for dissemination to other residents to ensure that they are given the opportunity to air their views on the future development of the area.
REVISED PROGRAMME OF DATES:
*previously 12 th July
TEXT OF MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM BARRY ALBIN-DYER ( 25/5/04 ):
As discussed earlier today, set out below are the points Laura conveyed on behalf of Barry during our brief telephone conversation this morning and presented his apologies for tonight’s meeting:
TEXT OF FEEDBACK TO CAMPAIGN WEBSITE FROM LOCAL RESIDENT ( 8/5/04 ):
COMMENTS ON CANADA WATER DEVELOPMENT AND ROTHERHITHE / SURREY QUAYS IN GENERAL
In summary it would be good if the campaign reflected the views of more people in the area and got to grips with the real issues rather than automatically taking a NIMBY view of everything.
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