Archive for the ‘Planning and development’ Category

If you didn’t make it to the meeting about the future of Vauxhall which Chris wrote about last week, it’s well worth reading the lively account of what happened on Lurking About SE11.  And if you want to know the background you might also like to read the snappily titled Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework Consultation Draft.  You can download it here – but be warned that it’s a 16Mb document which is 170 pages long. [Update: If you have tried to download it but got an error message, that’s because the Mayor’s website has been reorganised.  The link has now been updated to point to the new location.]

The future of Vauxhall and the wider ‘opportunity area’ has been a long-running topic, and doubtless will continue for a long time yet.  We featured the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document here just over a year ago and the proposed Northern Line extension last summer.

Part of the problem for residents (and their associations) trying to keep track of all this is that the decision making is very fragmented.  In a separate post, Lurking Around SE11 makes the perceptive point that:

It seems that there is an ongoing issue pertaining to the requests for permission lining up with the Mayor’s Plan for Nine Elms and the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document. Each time a developer submits a request for planning permission for a new building, the transport and infrastructure questions are only considered for the building in question by the local council (in this case, Lambeth). Does this mean that the developers will keep having planning permission granted because “just one more building” won’t affect the underground tube congestion? As long as Lambeth Council are seen to be proceeding on a building by building basis, there is less need for anybody to consider the overall area, and the effects that new buildings will have on older buildings and the surrounding townscape. Indeed, it’s rather impossible for residents to object, approve or comment on each new building because it’s so time consuming to work in this manner. Please could we consider multiple buildings and their effects on one another, before we have to comment on the next in the series?

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Back in October, we had to turn off the list of local planning applications which appeared in the right hand column.  The service is based on postcodes and Royal Mail decided to get heavy handed with the rights they claim over the postcode data, resulting in the service being withdrawn altogether – full details are in the original post.

The service has now been restored although with a slightly cryptic warning that is functioning with reduced postcode accuracy.  But it should mean that we don’t have to rely on spotting notices on lamp posts to find out what is going on.

The return of Planning Alerts may be linked to today’s launch by Sir Tim Berner-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, of a new government website giving access to a huge range of government data for creating just these kinds of useful applications. Planning Alerts is one of the first batch of applications featured on the site.

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Planning gains

News in from Neil Sanders:

I’m delighted to say that both the latest application for the former Di Lieto site (173-175 South Lambeth Road) and the application to convert the Royal Albert to residential use have been refused.

The South Lambeth Road application has been comprehensively turned down on the basic of architectural quality, the quality of the accommodation that would be provided, overlooking of neighbours, and concerns about parking and traffic.  (The loss of employment is not actually mentioned.)

I’m awaiting a copy of the decision letter on the Royal Albert, but the website says that it has been refused.

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Eagle-eyed readers will note that the list of local planning applications which used to be in the right-hand column has disappeared.  Our local planning alerts came from a service called PlanningAlerts.com, a small and simple site, run by volunteers, which simply took planning applications from the cumbersome systems run by local authorities and made them available in a much more usable form.  Critically, they did this by using postcode data mapped in rather a clever way to location information.  The postcode data needed to make it all work came from another small volunteer site called ernestmarples.comErnest Marples being the Postmaster General at the time postcodes were first introduced.

Royal Mail is now threatening legal action against ernestmarples.com, on the grounds that they are using Royal Mail intellectual property without paying for it.  Nobody involved has the legal resources to take on Royal Mail, so the postcode service has been closed down, with the result that a number of sites, including PlanningAlerts.com have stopped working.  There’s not  a lot we can do about that, beyond signing a petition on the No10 website if anybody feels so moved, so it’s even more important than usual to keep an eye out for planning applications affecting our area.

There are two current applications under consideration.  The more important of the two is yet another attempt  to redevelop the DiLieto bakery site on the corner of South Lambeth Road – details of the application are here.  This is the fifth attempt in eighteen months on my count, with permission now sought for seven flats and a one- to two-storey extension.  That’s an improvement on the original application for nine flats and a four-storey extension, but is still a lot to crowd into a small space.  The deadline for comments is 5 November.

On a much smaller scale, there is also a current application to replace windows and french doors at 37 Albert Square. The deadline for that one is 6 November.

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UntitledYou’ll no doubt have noticed that our local pub, the Royal Albert, has been closed for some time. The owner of the Albert has now submitted a planning application to convert the remainder of the pub into residential accommodation. There would be three self-contained flats, access from Ely’s cottages and substantial changes to the front.
The Albert was converted into a number of flats and houses a number of years ago and as part of that conversion the rear pub garden was lost. The pub continued, despite losing the popular rear garden and has been through a number of tenants.
The most recent tenants, Chris and Duncan, did everything they could to get the Royal Albert back to the great place it used to be before it was converted. Those of you who have enjoyed a welcoming bar and great nights under their tenancy will know the Albert can still be a great boozer.

All is not lost
Local residents and ASSA will be opposing the application for change of use. Whilst we would not push for the Albert to remain a pub if were clearly not viable as a business, we believe there is a strong case that it could be a successful business. It doesn’t have to be a pub.
There is a group meeting on Monday, September 28th 7-8pm in St Stephens Church to discuss alternative uses such as a community café and how we might go about funding it. Please come along if you’re interested it is open to all, especially those of you who were locals and don’t want to lose a great pub. And there’s free wine!
And finally, the Canton Arms. It too has closed down. We don’t know the full story yet but we will keep residents up to date.

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If you are a resident of Albert Square you should have received a copy of the Albert Square Perimeter Path consultation. If you are not a resident of the Square please note that Lambeth have agreed to distribute the leaflet to all ASSA residents as this is a conservation area matter not an Albert Square matter.  For both residents of the Square and other ASSA residents the deadline for the consultation has been extended. Residents are requested to return the consultation response as soon as they can (note the consultation leaflet itself still say the deadline is August 5th)

Background: Lambeth have recently agreed that they are responsible for the maintenance of the path and have agreed to upgrade it from the current mud path to something that will be more hard wearing and less muddy. The money for this work has been put aside in this year’s budget so the work will get done this financial year.

It was the overwhelming view of attendees of the ASSA AGM that they would prefer York stone for the path. This is the recommendation of the Residents Association. The stone is hard wearing and will last many times longer than the alternatives but it is also more expensive and this as a result Lambeth are reticent to offer it.

If you have not already filled in the form we recommend you don’t tick either ‘Modular’ or ‘Clearmac’ but instead write “I would like York stone to be used” in the further comments section.

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There is a new addition to the website which should make it easier to keep track of planning applications around the area.  You can see it towards the bottom of the right-hand column, showing a list of recent applications.  Click on any application to go straight to the detailed material on the Lambeth planning website.

The service is run by volunteers at planningalerts.com.  You can also sign up there for customised emails alerting you to applications in any area you define.

Two applications stand out from the batch which appeared when I first turned this on.   The first and more significant one is a second attempt to redevelop the old DiLieto’s building:

Retention of part ground floor as shop premises (Use class A1) with the conversion of the remainder of the property to provide 8 x 1 bed self contained flats with excavation of 2 x rear lightwells and erection of part 3, part 2, part single storey rear extensions and alterations to shopfront and windows within all elevations.

At first glance that doesn’t look very different from the application which was withdrawn last September.  Eight flats crammed into a small site and with the consequent pressure on the area around it is not a sensible approach.

The apparently more minor (but retrospective) application is for 42 Wilkinson Street,

Retention and reduction in depth of unauthorised rear outbuilding.

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Lambeth Council has produced a draft Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which was published in July, and is open to consultation until 15 December.  It’s a long and detailed document covering the area from Lambeth Bridge in the north down to Wyvil Road in the south.  The plan is seeking to encourage significant redevelopment in the area, though recognising that this would add further pressure to already stretched transport services.

Draft Vauxhall SPD coverThere are some curious details – a photograph looking south along South Lambeth Road labelled as looking north, another of the Strand, which is gridlocked for much of the day, presented as an “example of a quality street not compromised by high traffic volumes”, enough typos to suggest that it was put together in slightly too much of a hurry, and quite a lot of repetition.  But there is also quite a lot of systematic thinking about how the area might develop, with a pragmatic realisation that implementation might take 15 years.

There is an online questionnaire which goes with the draft plan and which is worth answering even if you can’t quite face the 111 pages of the SPD itself – it’s pretty straightforward and should only take a few minutes to complete.  One or two of the questions have a pretty strong slant – the two options for answering a question on tall buildings are:

  • Tall buildings should form a cluster around Vauxhall Cross (Vauxhall Heart)
  • Tall buildings should be allowed anywhere in Vauxhall

Not having tall buildings is apparently not an option, despite the transport pressures and visual intrusion they would create, though to be be fair there is an “other” category which provides space for alternative answers.

There are public exhibitions about the plan in several locations over the next few weeks, with details on the consultation web page.

Thanks to Andrew Orange of the Tradescant Road & South Lambeth blog for spotting the documents on the Lambeth website.

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