|Posted on Sunday, 23 July, 2006 - 03:17 pm: |
A planning application has been put in for the Finches site on Perry Vale. Check out application no. DC/06/62989/X on Lewisham's planning website: http://www4.lewisham.gov.uk/acolnet/LEWIS-XSLPages DC/acolnetcgi.exe?ACTION=UNWRAP&RIPNAME=Root.pgese arch
I haven't read the accompanying docs yet, but the summary is for commercial floor space at ground level and 71 apartments, plus 19 car parking spaces and 72 bicycle spaces(!).
|Posted on Sunday, 23 July, 2006 - 03:44 pm: |
What great news. I hope this goes through. The present site is a disgrace, discouraging potential investors. The apartments should also hopefully increase trade along Perry Rise, which has suffered for many years.
For application photos, see: www4.lewisham.gov.uk/acolnet/ACOLLATEDOCS/9732_1.p df
|Posted on Sunday, 23 July, 2006 - 10:07 pm: |
This is great news. For those familiar with the Berkeley product (i.e. Chelsea Bridge Wharf etc) these guys do not build rubbish. It will be interesting to see what the prices of the one beds are as they are likely to set a new bench mark in FH. I would not be surprised see some of the 1 beds touching the £200,000 mark.
Potential tenants to FH town centre should be made aware of this as it can only increase trade and boost the economy. I'm sure our TC manager has this sorted as they are likely to have been consulted.
|Posted on Sunday, 23 July, 2006 - 10:18 pm: |
Perry Rise needs converting back to residential.
|Posted on Sunday, 23 July, 2006 - 10:21 pm: |
Would second that Berkeley are one of the better developers, and would say that it is a good sign that they are interested in Forest Hill. We have been off the radar for some time; they are a shrewd bunch and if they believe that the time is now right to invest then that is reassuring.
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 11:39 am: |
I've had a quick look through the documents and my initial thoughts are:
- loss of Serin House in Hindsley's Place is a shame. It dates from the 1840s, so an original piece of FH history would disappear
- it's very big! 4 storeys at the front and 6 at the rear. The front starts right next to the pavement and will be higher than the railway embankment wall opposite, so I think that stretch of road will will seem very oppressive and bleak. There's no space on the pavement for trees so there's no chance of 'softening' the street landscape.
As to who will buy them: 25 units will be set aside as 'affordable' housing. Bearing in mind the location I don't think they'll be going for the luxury end of the market, and with only 19 car-parking spaces it's not going to attract many car owners, so I'm guessing buy-to-let, with the target rental market being young professionals who'll commute to work by train. Cost: there's very little under £300k at Berkeley sites in London, although they do have a 1-bedroom apartment at Woolwich Arsenal for £195k.
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 11:54 am: |
Not quite true. The former Aragon Tower in Deptford, the new development in Bow and the redevelopment of the pensions ministry in Acton all have/had plenty of flats for less than £250k. If they were really going to price at £300k then the numbers for buy-to-let would not stack up.
They would lose a lot of the site by setting the building back for trees, and it is often appropriate for a building to "front up" to the street in an urban environment.
I haven't really made my mind up about it yet but am very pleased that there is finally some prospect of losing that awful area that greets you as you leave the station. What a dreadful first impression for visitors to West Catford!
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 12:30 pm: |
Berkeley Homes prices: I just went by what they currently have on their website. They must have sold all the £250k flats at Aragon Tower because they're only showing details of the penthouses now (£560k - £850k).
Berkeley does have other divisions, eg Berkeley First which builds affordable homes for key workers, housing associations etc, but the planning application definitely says Berkeley Homes, so I think they're going to be 'normal' flats.
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 12:50 pm: |
I thought the Aragan Tower apartments started at £250K upto £550K. Of course there are the 14 penthouses going from £560K to £860K.
The council sold the 144 units for £10M because they were said to be in bad repair. Yet the building was found strong enough to take another 5 floors.
As long as the new flats aren't another block of flats with grey metal Juliet balconies, they are so 2005.
By the way do the new flats mean the end of the skiing scene in Forest Hill?
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 01:13 pm: |
I am not sure it is The Finch's site that is ugly but the area round it especially the ugly hut ( I know it has been there at least 40 yrs ) that sells very little.
These commercial and residential applications are a bit of a joke. I rarely see anything that I would call commercial.
I am sure with global warming you will not need skiing in Se 23
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 01:55 pm: |
Retail/commercial on ground floor and resi above is my understanding so don't think the ski/bike shop will be disappearing.
Brian - what do you mean "a bit of a joke"? What do you consider commercial?
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 02:08 pm: |
I've taken a look at the plans/artists impressions and, whilst it does look quite imposing on the street, I think it's exactly what we need on that side of the track. The modern design will be seen as you get off the southbound train and create a very positive impression of Forest Hill. Too many places are let down by eyesores right outside their station. I certainly hope this goes through!
ps. Brian - the hut has been closed for probably over a year now. You're right that it sold very little (a small selection of groceries and an extensive selection of adult magazines I seem to remember...)
|Posted on Tuesday, 25 July, 2006 - 07:51 am: |
I must be very out of date re the hut. What about the car loud noise place next door.
Re what I think is commercial . Then I agree retail comes into that category. It is just a pity that no one in FH produces anything ( sounds like the rest of the UK ) all we do is consume.
How do they think we will pay for all these imports when the prices rise.
|Posted on Tuesday, 25 July, 2006 - 09:24 am: |
The non-convenience store closed some time ago. It was handy for picking up a pint of milk on the way home. There's a small hut next to Finch's that I'm sure I can remember seeing some carp for sale in the window at some time in the past, but this was years ago. The only place open past Finch's is the tattooed car radio man (G auto's something like that). His hut may leave much to be desired, but he does have a very big 4x4, is quite muscley, and does have lots of WWF pictures (stone cold chainsaw....). Alongside the loss of the old warehouse, FH would be losing another piece of its unique ambiance. Maybe he can be guaranteed a small unit? Poor lamb must get terribly cold in the winter.
On balance, loss of the old warehouse is a shame. Surely it would be better to convert it (though it probably limits the footprint for further development)? I'd agree with Ab3, this side of the tracks needs something like this to radically alter its character and profile. Otherwise it could continue drifting towards Catford. Does anyone recall how the development outside Syd station effected the immediate area?
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 09:56 am: |
I see there are 16 against this development. Does this make it highly unlikely to get the go-ahead?
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 10:29 am: |
Not necessarily but it may mean there will have to be revised plans or even a Planning Inquiry which would just mean delay rather than outright rejection.
I suspect it depends on the nature of the objections.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 11:01 am: |
Below is the text of an objection submitted by Steering Committee members of the yet-to-be-formally-created Forest Hill Society.
Apparently 3 objections to a planning application results in the application being referred to the Planning Committee.
The impression I got from people who know more about these things than I do, is that this application was probably testing the waters and Berkeley will hopefully submit a better proposal in future.
Application No. DC/06/62989/X – 1 Hindsley’s Place and 29-45 Perry Vale, London, SE23
Dear Sue Wright,
We are responding to the above planning application both as individual residents of Forest Hill and as the Steering Committee of the Forest Hill Society, a local society in the process of being formally created.
Although we are very pleased about the prospect of development on this site on Perry Vale we are disappointed that a developer of Berkeley Homes’ experience and calibre has produced such a poor proposal. We object to the planning application on the following grounds:
1. Density and contribution to streetscape
Such a large number of apartments would result in a development out of scale with its surrounding buildings. The massing is somewhat clumsy and the palate of materials is inappropriate to its context. The recessed location of the commercial units will reduce the amount of natural light they receive and make them appear gloomy and unappealing. The overall effect is of a building that sits uneasily on Perry Vale.
2. Lack of family housing
The provision of only one- and two-bedroom apartments will be of limited suitability for families and we are disappointed there is not a greater variety of housing types.
3. Single aspect apartments
We are concerned that so many apartments have windows opening onto one side of the development only. This will limit the amount of natural ventilation available to each apartment and is of particular detriment to those fronting west onto Perry Vale, as not only will they receive the heat of the afternoon sun but they will need to keep their windows closed to minimise noise from the railway and main road.
4. Energy efficiency
The internal layouts of apartments (ie bathrooms and kitchens without windows) will result in higher energy consumption through artificial lighting and ventilation than would otherwise be necessary.
5. Ratio of apartments to car parking spaces (72:19)
In such a large development we feel it is unlikely that only 17 residents (plus 2 disabled residents) would have a car and it is inevitable that some residents will park cars in nearby streets.
6. View of Christ Church
The development partially blocks the view of Christ Church from London Road, as referenced in the Forest Hill Urban Design Framework. Closing off the view along London Road has the unwelcome effect of further dividing the two sides of Forest Hill when the aspiration must be to improve links.
7. Missed opportunity to develop the western side of Perry Vale and Forest Hill Station
Although the proposal incorporates the slight realignment of Perry Vale and the widening of the pavement near the underpass, we feel this would be insufficient to allow for any radical improvements to pedestrian access to the station and Forest Hill town centre in years to come. We believe that any development of the Finches site should seek to maximise the amount of space on the western side of Perry Vale available for future improvements, and this proposal does not do that.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 03:09 pm: |
Very interesting objection.
Personally, I believe that developments on Finches site should not be allowed until any possible development of Forest Hill railway station has been determined as it might need to spread across to or even over Perry Vale.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 06:41 pm: |
Everyone has left this site to fester for donkeys years and as soon as someone proposes putting it to good use they're shot down in flames. How many families are going to choose to pay the market price for a 3-bed flat in this type of development? And should the development be held to ransom for the chance that there MAY be one or two family takers? The ideals set out in the Urban Design Framework have been there for years and for a distant view from London Road to a church to be more valuable than the creation of 70 flats and 6 shops is beyond me. The proposed development will create a greater need to make the two sides of the tracks more accessible and I wouldn't be surprised if Berkeley Homes offer some money, through a section 106 agreement, to provide it. With the piecemeal improvements that we've been used to getting at Forest Hill Station over the years what chance is there of any new station extending beyond its current boundaries - let alone across Perry Vale! I have been eagerly waiting to see what the Forest Hill Society would do for us and, on this showing, I am disappointed.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 07:06 pm: |
I believe that it is good to point out the inadequacies of the design now, rather than moan about it later.
Berkeley is clearly interested in developing the site. Now let's see if they come up with an excellent proposal, rather than a flawed one.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 07:13 pm: |
An excellent scheme is what we would all want but I'm afraid the inadequacies in the design aren't all Planning matters, which is all the Council are allowed to deal with. Perhaps the Steering Committee/FH Society would be better to meet with Berekely Homes themselves.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 07:23 pm: |
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 07:25 pm: |
Perhaps Berkeley Homes (or another property company) might be interested in developing the railway station. Shops and offices could be combined with a new railway station and be built over the tracks and possible onto the car park site in Perry Vale.
OK. It's probably not going to happen.
Personally, I suspect small starter homes are likely to be more desireable and marketable near a railway station.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 07:46 pm: |
Sherwood - wouldn't it be fantastic if the decision makers could come up with a joined-up solution, as you suggest. The Urban Strategy (or whatever it's called) identified that as being the way forward for the area but it seems that was nothing more than loads of money spent on an architect's pipe dream. I guess I've just lost faith in the dream and I now find comfort from the prospect of ANY improvement.
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 08:34 pm: |
I know exactly what you mean but also think it would be good to try and get the best one can out of Berkeley at this stage - "good, but could do better". When it it is finished it is obviously too late and you are saddled with it for 50 years. Berkeley can actually build quite decent stuff!
|Posted on Friday, 18 August, 2006 - 09:22 pm: |
Absolutely! I'm sure Berkeley Homes is more than capable of building something worthy of the relatively prime location. I also believe that the Planners and our local representatives can, through the right sort of dialogue, encourage Berkeley to make it happen. I am just worried that if they go in being too negative and pernickity it will cause friction and we'll end up with something which ticks the Planning boxes and nothing else. There's surely a good chance of some sort of public consultation on a project of this scale as well.
|Posted on Saturday, 19 August, 2006 - 07:46 am: |
Personally speaking I don't actually read the above FHS response as 'shooting it down in flames'. I can't see Berkeley packing their bags on the basis of this. The response welcomes development on this site, but as its in a prime location then its surely a good thing to argue for the best design and practical solution possible.
All in all, its a fairly standard response to an application of this nature.
I believe the reference to family housing relates to affordable provision, the % for which is stated in the UDP and which this development does not currently accommodate. The Council and Housing Association may feel however that this site is not suitable for affordable family accommodation, however its surely good to ask the question if we are to have sustainable mixed communities within Forest Hill.
There have been some good developments recently in the area, ie Sainsburys, the Barratts scheme but also some instant howlers ( Upvc Mansions!), and those that look good initially but deteriorate quickly due to poor materials and lack of thought into their management.
Developers like Berkeleys can indeed build to a good standard, but like all developers, their motivation lies in their profit margin, hence they ' build and go'. We need to make sure the legacy they leave us looks good and works well for many years.
|Posted on Saturday, 19 August, 2006 - 08:42 am: |
I hope there was no suggestion in my writings that such an objection would, or even could, have frightened Berkeley Homes away - because it certainly was not intended. Although it was a 'fairly standard response' it was, in my opinion, unduly pernickity and negative and it showed a lack of understanding of Planning Policy.
Family housing, or 3-bed flats, would not necessarily be classed as affordable housing, which would have to be provided anyway at a given percentage of the total development. I accept the argument for mixed and sustainable communities but I don't think it is necessary, nor appropriate, to put families in this type of development. Forest Hill already has a huge stock of varied types of private and social housing so this 72 dwelling development (without family housing) will not cause a noticeable imbalance.
Of course developers are seeking to make good profits and that often means that they will want to build something that is desirable enough for people to want to spend over-the-odds to live there. I would suggest that forcing the developer to include a dozen 3-bed affordable family units would result in a less-desirable prospect for most potential buyers - therefore its earning potential would be lower and, guess what (?), the developer would be forced to build it to minimal standards.
I don't mean to appear argumentative, it's just that I want to see this thing handled in a balanced way because I'm sure there's scope for us to get something decent whilst the developer gets a good return.
|Posted on Sunday, 20 August, 2006 - 11:26 am: |
I am very pleased to see that our submission to the council has provoked debate and generally agreement. According to Lewisham's website there have been 18 responses, 16 of which were against the plans as they exist. We felt it was important that other people could read our submission and comment on it on this forum.
A five floor development further dividing the two sides of Forest Hill in not ideal for that location. What particularly concerned a number of us was the number of single aspect apartments facing West onto Perry Vale that will have either no ventilation or excessive noise from the road (at a level where planning permission is not normally granted - see section 5.1 of the ambient noise report). Section 5.2.1 of the report states that only 4 apartments are single aspect, however, looking at the floor plans the figure appears to be considerably more than this number.
A slightly smaller development, and possibly one that is set back further from the road, would probably be better for this location. Hopefully objecting to this development will allow Berkeley to submit a revised proposal that will be a better fit with the needs of the community, the residents, and the developers. It will also give Lewisham Council an opportunity to renew its commitment to the UDF for Forest Hill.
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 08:42 pm: |
What do you mean by 'further dividing'? It seems a strange argument to me given that Forest Hill is dissected by the railway lines and new housing developments are inevitible wherever the potential arises. Surely your 'imbalance' is evened out by the 40-odd flats and 6 shops on the other side of the tracks in Clyde Vale PLUS a further 25 flats adjacent between Noel Terrace and Bird-in-Hand Passage.
Is a professional person who is out working and socialising from 7am 'til whenever going to worry whether their flat benefits from a single aspect or not? Or, if the single aspect units are being earmarked for affordable provision, I'm sure there will be no shortage of extremely willing takers whose lives will be no worse for being in such a place.
The Planners are duty-bound to ensure that certain living standards are adhered to - whatever you write in your submission.
In Planning terms a 'smaller development' would not necessarily be appropriate for this location. A major part of complying with Planning Guidelines relates to getting as many dwellings into a development as is feasibly possible - especially in urban areas where the habitants are able to benefit from the use of public transport.
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 09:45 am: |
Part of the UDF is to turn this area into a welcoming entrance to Forest Hill (East side). The idea of a 'cafe quarter' suggests an area with cafes, restaurants, and space outside to eat, drink and meet. By building a five storey block of flats, even with a small number of commercial properties on the ground floor, we lose the opportunity to develop this site in the way suggested by the UDF. Instead upon exiting the station from the southbound platform, people will find themselve in a narrow road, surrounded on one side by large billboards and a wall with a fence on top, and on the other side by a building even higher than this.
This is not really an ideal welcome to Forest Hill (not that we have one at present). The UDF gives us some modest aims for the development of Forest Hill town centre and although this planning application makes regualar mention to this document, it rarely manages to fully live up to the aspirations of the plan.
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 12:03 pm: |
I just can't see why this is not seen as positive for FH. I take the point that initial designs are initial designs and that there will always be objections.
However, I get the feeling that the idea of 70 high quality residential units is being rejected on this site. Please see BH's other schemes(please see http://www.berkeleyhomes.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid =1366) and note that no other SE towns have interested Berkeley. We need to look at the finacial viability of some of our wonderful aspirational plans for the site and see that they are just not possible - I'm not saying accept second best, just that we should be more reasonable.
This development will place over 150 people in the town centre, it is an economic catalyst, I wonder if we will be complaining if it facilitates the letting of the Mcdonalds unit to a high class user - probably not!!
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 12:11 pm: |
I wouldn't assume that people will rush to buy in the area. The design and location obviously does matter because we haven't seen a sudden influx of people into the flats above Sainsburys have we? Most of them still appear to be empty.
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 01:23 pm: |
I don't mean to correct you Seeformiles but it may be worth checking the facts on Sainsbury's first - don't be deceived by the agents lack of desire to remove the For Sale signs.
All units were sold off-plan within 2 weeks, so quickly in fact that sales particulars were never produced.
Additionally, 90% of the flats are owned by owner occupiers and the remaining 10% by investors. I hope this gives you an indication of the demand.
If you now put this in the context of the Berkeley scheme, you can start to see that the 40 odd private units will go quickly (also bearing in mind E London Line will be closer i.e. increase demand). Forget about the affordable units they will be occupied through an RSL all of whoms clients will be chomping at the bit to live next to station 10 mins from central London.
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 04:08 pm: |
Fh1 - the voice of reason (IMHO). What a relief!
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 05:55 pm: |
The single aspect nature of the apartmentsmay not be a planning issue but is indicative of bad design. Would you want you only window to open onto a railway platform (same height, only the width o the road to separate the two) with "THE NEXT TRAIN AT PLATFORM 2 IS THE DELAYED..." booming out 19 hours a day? Having got this aspect of the design "less than optimal" it is not too surprising that other aspects could also be improved, notably massing, materials and the urban design aspect of its relationship to the street.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the site is being developed. I just think that the scheme could be improved (and it would be nice if it complied with the planning guidance - which is there for a reason!)
|Posted on Friday, 01 September, 2006 - 01:21 am: |
I agree that such design features as you have outlined, HTG, should be avoided if possible - but not to any great extent - because a noise that is overbearingly annoying and disruptive initially can be of no significance after a relatively short while.
I'll give you an example. I used to live at the top of a large house in Manor Mount and I wasn't bothered by any outside noise whatsoever. I subsequently moved from there directly into a large two-storey, TRIPLE ASPECT maisonette above a shop in Dartmouth Road. When I sat down in one of the front rooms to watch the TV I was horrified by the incredible noise and vibration caused by passing traffic - buses in particular - and I thought I'd never be able to get used to it. Later, I went up to bed in one of the rear rooms and the sound of the trains prevented me from sleeping properly. But I can assure you that all of those annoyances became normal after a week and I was never aware of them for the remainder of mine and my family's very happy 8 years at the property.
I know that most of the people who have expressed an opinion on this development are naturally concerned for the well-being of its future inhabitants, based upon what they think are acceptable levels of private amenity etc, but I don't think we need to worry too much about them - they're adaptable and they don't need wrapping up in our cotton wool. One only needs to look at the thousands of houses, flats and rooms that are within similar distances of railways and stations whenever you go anywhere by train - are the inhabitants not happily living their lives?
I'm with you all on being happy to see whatever improvements can be made to the scheme though.
|Posted on Friday, 01 September, 2006 - 12:33 pm: |
Let the buyer beware.
|Posted on Saturday, 02 September, 2006 - 06:18 pm: |
My grandmother had a house next to the A2 Dover to London road. Heavy lorries passed within a few feet of the house. But I became used to the noise and could sleep without being affected by it.
|Posted on Saturday, 02 September, 2006 - 08:15 pm: |
Likewise in all my 3 houses have always lived quite close to railway lines. Others notice trains noises I do not
|Posted on Thursday, 14 September, 2006 - 07:27 pm: |
Lewisham Council has arranged a meeting to discuss this development at 7:30pm on Wednesday 27th September at Forest Hill Library, Dartmouth Road.
There will be a presentation of the revised proposals from Berkeley Homes and a chance for local residents to express their views.
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 - 12:45 am: |
Talking of new developments, anyone know what's planned for the top of Taymount Rise? There's been building work going on there for ages.
It looks like quite a big building site so I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned.
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 - 07:23 am: |
Re Taymount Rise
There's a block of flats being built by the owner of the two bungalows that were previously there and have been demolished.
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 - 03:28 pm: |
Just a reminder that there's a public meeting at 7.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday 27 September) at Forest Hill library about Berkeley Homes' proposal for the Finches site.
|Posted on Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 - 04:23 pm: |
I misunderstood the intention of tomorrow evening’s meeting. Apparently it is not a ‘public meeting’ but a local consultative meeting. Members of the public are not invited to attend, only people who officially objected. There will be members of the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies present, but please DO NOT attend if you did not object.
I apologise for my mis-understanding. I thought that when we had asked for a public meeting it had been accepted. I was mistaken.
If you do have views then please post them here and we will try to represent the range of opinions / majority voice, on the forum.
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 01:13 pm: |
I looked at the Lewisham website to see the plans and frankly I am amazed about what Berkeley Homes think that they can get away with.
1) The building partially blocks views towards the church on South Road (I cannot for the life of me remember its name) from Forest Hill Centre - i think that this is a particulalry attractive view from within a conservation area and should be considered as important.
2) Gross overdevelopment of the site. The supporting statements refer to the neighbouring three storey buildings justifying a four storey building (?!?!) Why does this justify a four storey building, it does not, it justifies a three storey building. And the five storey element is going to look completely out of place.
3) Amenity space - there is none (apart from the small balconies)
The long and short of it is that it is a poor scheme!
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 01:51 pm: |
The church is Christ Church. Or at least it used to be - it's currently being turned into flats. Is a church still called a church when it's no longer a church?
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 02:31 pm: |
Crispy - thanks for your blind enthusiasm for the project - any positive points to make or is it the worst scheme you have ever seen? If so compared to what? I think most of your comments are covered above, when the application was submiited over 2 months ago!
Bottom line is....
THIS PROJECT WILL HELP THE REGENERATION OF FOREST HILL. Don't worry about the details the planners will sort that out - trust me.
Can we be broadly supportive of the fact that a high end developer has chosen Forest Hill over all other SE Boroughs in which to site its development.
Please, positivity not negativity!!!!
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 02:57 pm: |
Other than the fact that some flats will be built on some unused land, there is nothing positive about this proposal. And I'm speaking as someone who has examined the documents in detail.
I'd be interested to know how many people on here who support the application have actually looked at it closely. Could you tell us why you are so positive about this development? Or are you just so grateful that a 'high end' developer is looking at FH that you'll blindly accept anything they suggest?
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 04:46 pm: |
Yes, I support it - even after having looked closely at the proposals in detail.
I believe Forest Hill needs to attract more young professional types in order for the town centre to grow, in business terms. Currently there are relatively few proper businesses occupying the shops in London Rd, Dartmouth Rd and Perry Vale due largely to the fact that there aren't enough spenders to attract serious long-term business investors. Don't get me wrong, I know there are already large numbers of people here with spending power but they haven't yet got enough of what they want in the town centre to encourage them to use it as a going-out or shopping destination. In my opinion, the Dartmouth Arms has been a catalyst for Forest Hill. It has given hope to many people who live here and it has put Forest Hill on the map for many others who don't - and I think a by-product of developments, such as what's being proposed for the Finches site, will be more of the same level of quality in shops & eateries etc.
If, on the other hand, Forest Hill prefers to waste this type of opportunity, the shops will become even more run-down and dire, Lewisham will have to abandon its pie-in-the-sky regeneration strategy, local Planning guidelines will have to be relaxed to allow those rinky-dink type residential conversions dozens of failed & derelict shops and the town centre will be a place where its working population commute from & to and go to Sainsburys. Oh, and by that time I suppose the Dartmouth Arms will have long gone!
Forest Hill DOES have a special quality, compared to many other places in SE London, and we need to share it with lots more people. But for it to work I reckon there needs to be a radical shake-up and I think this humungus Berkeley Homes thing may just do it!
Bottom line is - I want whatever works for the place.
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 05:10 pm: |
Anotherjohn - couldn't have put it any better myself. I fully agree with everything you're saying here. I think this development (with or without some tweaks to satisfy local demands) is exactly what that side of the tracks needs - and it needs it soon!
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 05:39 pm: |
So let's throw up any old pile then eh
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 05:42 pm: |
Sorry, FH1, I also don't share your opinion.
I do not see why we should be particularly flattered as BH are building everywhere, not just in Lewisham. If it wasn't BH, it would be another developer, probably with as just a good profile.
Whilst we ought to welcome investment, we still need to ensure it is appropriate for the site and will make a positive, not negative contribution to the local area.
This scheme has a higher than average rating in respect of non compliance with local planning requirements, and poor design.The developers interest always lies in short term profit, whilst the community will have to live with the consequences for poor development for a long time, hence it makes sense to get the best development we can.
|Posted on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 - 05:58 pm: |
Anotherjohn - interesting points.
“Lewisham will have to abandon its pie-in-the-sky regeneration strategy” – WHAT regeneration strategy?! I know there’s a supplementary planning guidance document for Forest Hill floating around, but I don’t see much evidence of Lewisham taking notice of it.
As for the spending power of young professional types: (i) their leisure time will be evenings and weekends, so will businesses be able to survive on that alone or will they be able to attract an alternative weekday customer too? What types of business do you envisage? And (ii) what’s to say they’ll spend a lot of time and money in Forest Hill anyway? I’ve lived in FH all my life but I’m one of the commuters: work and play in central London and come back to FH to go home. Admittedly if I lived that close to the town centre I would make more use of it, but I would value it more for its proximity to the station and the shorter journey time to get home from the West End or wherever.
Perhaps it depends which side of the railway one lives on: if I lived on the hill side and wasn’t familiar with Perry Vale I’d probably be thinking ‘big block of flats, what’s the problem?’. But because I’ve known the site since I was a child and now walk past it twice a day it’s actually part of MY landscape and I’m more sensitive to its contribution to the streetscape. The site is in a prominent location and whatever is built there will be highly visible – it needs to look good from the outside and also provide flats that will be desirable to live in in the long term (and I don’t just mean aesthetically). The way the housing market is at the moment people are happy to buy whatever they can afford, however ‘compact’ it is, but what happens when the bottom drops out of the market and, for example, having a kitchen as a separate room (wow, radical idea!) is no longer seen as a luxury but as a basic requirement when househunting? And don’t get me started on the single aspect flats facing onto Perry Vale (ie facing west, therefore = sun) that will have to keep their windows closed to maintain a reasonable noise level …
I’m not against a residential development on the Finches site but I want something decent and I think Forest Hill deserves better than what Berkeley Homes is proposing.
|Posted on Thursday, 28 September, 2006 - 01:16 pm: |
It was an interesting meeting last night and I thought Berkeley Homes provided a good presentation. There are still a number of concerns that I have about this development and whether it fits with the UDF and Lewisham Council's planning guidance which recommends this location should become a 'cafe quarter'. I would have expected more retail in this area and I am unhappy about the proximity of a 4 storey residental development to the pavement and the impact it will have on the streetscape as you come out of the underpass or out of the station.
Some of the improvements Berkeley Homes have made, as a result of the objections from the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies, already make this development a better prospect for the area (including lift access to all the flats, solar panels covering the roof, slightly improved views of the church along key lines of sight, and better noise and heat insultation).
A developer like Berkeley Homes is able to listen to criticism and make the necessary improvements to make the development the standard that we expect from them, and that we are entitled to expect on such a key location in Forest Hill.
I believe the FH Society were right to object on the grounds they did and to continue to work for the best possible development for this site.
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 01:37 pm: |
Berkeley Homes have submitted further changes (see last 8 documents here: http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/LEWIS-XSLPagesDC/ac olnetcgi.exe?ACTION=UNWRAP&RIPNAME=Root.PgeDocs&Th eSystemkey=47728)
- they've produced a picture of what the building will look like viewed from Platform 1 of the station
- details of landscaping in Perry Vale (trees, bench and cycle storage in the triangle section of land at the bottom of Platform 2 exit)
- work to the underpass and railway embankment (cleaning, painting with anti-graffiti paint, replacing existing lighting with anti-vandal lighting)
- highway changes - speed cushions and raised crossing [it appears the existing pedestrian refuge is to be removed, something I'm not happy about]
- overheating - they've acknowledged that the flats fronting Perry Vale will need mechanical ventilation
- limiting the use of one of the retail units to Class A3 to encourage a cafe to take it (but if it's unlet after 18 months it will revert to the original Classes A1, A2 or B2).
Any comments to Lewisham Council by 8 November. They're trying to get it before the Planning Committee on 9 November.
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 02:14 pm: |
I am a little concerned about the proposed landscaping around the rear entrance to FH station which can be seen at http://www4.lewisham.gov.uk/acolnet/ACOLLATEDOCS/1 3435_1.pdf
There are plans to add two trees, 5 cycle stands and a bench to an area which is very busy with people flowing out of the station every time a train arrives from London (every 10 minutes, rising to every five minutes in 2010). I do not believe this is a sensible location for cycle stands or a bench and this will only add to congestion. The addition of a tree will eventually reduce the light to this area, which already suffers from poor lighting.
I believe their money would be better spent improving the lighting on the rear steps and working on further accessibility improvements to the station and underpass. Ideally a lift for the southbound platform.
Am I over-reacting to what might be improvement to this area? I would be interested in the views of others, especially if you use the exit from the Southbound platform.
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 03:54 pm: |
The exit from the southbound platform definitely needs to be improved.
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 04:27 pm: |
Regarding the photo and view from Forest Hill station Cllr John Paschoud in Perry Vale has written a few words....
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 05:08 pm: |
Platform 2 exit: I'd prefer better lighting on the stairs than landscaping the triangle of land. I'm concerned the bench might encourage loitering and the trees might obscure the view of the stairs and exit, making them feel less secure to use. I'm not saying axe murderers might be lurking behind the tree trunks but from a crime prevention point of view I'd prefer the area to be open and visible.
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 05:22 pm: |
Benches elsewhere tend to be occupied by alcoholics. So alcohol free zones are introduced to combat this. This bench would be on the wrong side of the tracks after all!
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 October, 2006 - 11:33 pm: |
I've just examined the compter generated images of what it will look like. I think it's soulless, ugly and sits uncomfortably with the surrounding early Victorian architecture.
We are slowly going to kill off every last bit of character Forest Hill has. I was expecting a more sensitively designed building than that.
|Posted on Wednesday, 01 November, 2006 - 01:48 pm: |
I think I agree with seeformiles. The building design looks poor and a little cheap. I would prefer something ultra-modern as this would attract more affluent personnel, which would be good for forest hill's own economy.
I think the proposal is generally a very good idea and I really hope the 'view of the church' issue doesnt negate what will prove to be a very positive move for our area. Personally I didnt even know there was a view of the church till I read this!
|Posted on Thursday, 02 November, 2006 - 06:05 pm: |
I'm all for regeneration but of a kind that respects the existing architecture - this doesn't. I like the idea of a landscaped area but this is an undeniably ugly building.
|Posted on Thursday, 09 November, 2006 - 11:23 pm: |
This evening the planning committee granted permission for this development. I believe that the objections raised by the Sydenham and Forest Hill Societies, Tewkesbury Lodge and other objectors have resulted in an improved development than was originally proposed.
Key changes included solar panels on the roof, lift access to all flats (including affordable housing), slightly improved views of Christ Church, change of designation for one of the retail units to A3 only (cafe or restaurant), a recognition of the issues around noise levels and improved ventilation for the flats facing Perry Vale.
Without wishing to discount the possiblity of an appeal from any of the amenity societies, I believe our objections have helped secure a better development for a key site in the centre of Forest Hill that was in dire need of redevelopment.
|Posted on Friday, 10 November, 2006 - 04:48 pm: |
sounds good, hopefully it will look good if us commuters are going to be staring at it from the rail platforms every day! Do we have any re-designed pics?
|Posted on Friday, 10 November, 2006 - 09:44 pm: |
You can see what it will look like at http://foresthillsociety.blogspot.com/2006/11/finc hes-site.html
The quality of the image is not great, however other pictures are available on the Lewisham planning website in PDF form (address in previous posts).