SE23.com - The Official Forum for Forest Hill & Honor Oak, London SE23
Online since 2002  -  10,000+ members

Home | SE23 Topics | Businesses & Services | Wider Topics | Offered/Wanted/Lost/Found | Site Feedback | Advertising | Contact
Geddes Hairdressing & Barbering Studio One Armstrong & Co Solicitors


Post Reply  Post Topic 
Pages (2): « First [1] 2 Next > Last »
The planning system
Author Message
baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #1
23-08-2008 12:13 AM

Taking time off watching the Clash on Youtube I thought that I'd stimulate some debate about residential and other developments. I've chipped in on other relevant threads in the past but think this needs its own. Hot topics at present include the pools, Forest Hill Centraal, and develpments in the posh estate. Not so long ago we were discussing stuff on Stansted Road.

Now does planning law and policy stiffle progress and competition or is it necessary to protect our urban environment. And if the latter why is SE23 such a hotch potch of developments or alternatively is this eclectic and interesting? Does the planning system favour developers? Is LBL protecting our interests? Does anyone have anything positive to say about them??

And if we do need intevention should this be up to the individual, groups, or representatives (eg TLRA and FHS, noting that both have been active on some of the bigger proposals but perhaps don't have the same level of activity as some other groups).

Finally if SE23 attracting a new type of resident, unable to afford to live in SE22 but seeing opportunity here, but wishing to build their own castle. And should we be bothered if that is their wish?

Natually I have strong views, and have taken these up with Uncle Jim and Auntie Hazel, but more of that at a later stage; it would be interesting to hear from others. Only one rule, don't wine on about property prices - that should be parked elsewhere on this site.

Find all posts by this user Reply
baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #2
26-08-2008 09:48 PM

I did not intend this thread to be a monologue - come on let's have some views out there!

Having had a look at some of the recent applications the main thing I have noted is what could be seen as arrogant developers, pouring scorn on existing properties, in order to justify their 'cutting edge' ideas. Those opposing are made out to be luddites and NIMBY's when all they want to do is get on with their lives.

The planning system appears to favour developers in that they can apply until they are successful, with planning officers advising what they have to do, and at the same time the local authority risk being taken to appeal. Generally they will have funds to do this. Once a contentious design has gone through, that sets a precedent which others follow.

The objectors (Council Tax payers) have their democratically elected representatives to look after their interests, but when the system fails (and I am not having a dig at our ward councilors) what options are there? There is no right to appeal. The Ombudsman cannot overturn decisions and in any case the local authority can ignore this. High Court Action costs ?10,000 upwards, and if lost two or three times more.

And meanwhile, what were prestine examples of interesting 30s architecture in the streets around Horniman Park are getting a more and more disjointed and disharmonious look. The Thorpes are a conservation area because they are similarly an example of interesting Edwardian architecture. But unless it is Art Deco, or modernist, people still look down on 30's housing stock.

The highly organised Crystal Palace Campaign, with many members who were in the professions, articulate speakers and press officers, friends in the government, local authorities and media, and good at publicity and raising funds, lost in the High Court.

So back to the original posting (a) is there a counter argument, and (b) apart from ranting on this site, and writing letters of complaint, what should residents do?

Find all posts by this user Reply
grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #3
27-08-2008 10:08 AM

(ok I'll bite, with apologies for a long post to come...)

Planning law + policy stifles uncontrolled development, but it does not stifle progress. In fact, it forces developers (and this includes councils) to conform to a wide range of laws and design guidance pertinent to the locale. The planning process also keeps relatively up to date with issues such as sustainability and public art, and can condition a permission to make sure they happen.

In most larger developments the planning process will ask for a section 106 agreement which extracts money from the developer to be used for publicly beneficial schemes - road improvements, public art etc. I don't think the process favours developers, but rightly sits somewhere between developer and public.

But what you have to remember when you talk about a 'hotch potch' of developments is that the built environment is never static, almost never one style or another. Even in Georgian or Victorian architecture there are many styles and sub-styles - that were debated vehemently at the time, some buildings being seen as too modern!

There is also the point that although many SE23'ers see (or wish to see) Forest Hill as a verdant suburban village, this is not the case any more. The Green Belt still effectively acts as a barrier to London's general spread, and London is projected to grow again to its pre-1970's population of 10 million. Where are all these people going to live? More homes are being planned in the Lower Lea Valley as part of the Olympic Legacy, and to a greater extent in the Thames Gateway but, like it or not, Forest Hill and other areas like it will have to cope with greater densification.

That means that the extremely lucky people who have been able to buy a house in Forest Hill will, in the next few years (and despite the credit crunch), see a) large developments like Forest Hill Central b) a lot of extensions, loft conversions and house-splitting and c) large-house-sized plots being developed with small blocks of 10+ flats.

In my opinion this is both necessary and morally right, within a context of a democratic planning control process. Remember, planning decisions (if anyone objects) are made by your elected peers, not the planning officers. And yes, I do feel that some objections to applications are examples of nimbyism.

Find all posts by this user Reply
grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #4
27-08-2008 10:15 AM

Unless it's in my back yard.....Wink

Find all posts by this user Reply
gingernuts


Posts: 505
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #5
27-08-2008 11:39 AM

and Grahamw, you've knocked it on the head! Not in my back yard!

I live in Forest Hill becasue I love the area, the mix of good quality family homes, both Victorian and 1930's architecture, green spaces, parks, woods, tree lined streets, fantastic views and ease of access to central London. Wow!!!

Development, unless sympathetic to the sourroundings, should be seriously considered and not permitted where there are reasonable objections. Good family houses should not be knocked down to build cheap flats for profit.

It's all too easy to say it's 'morally right' that new housing is built - but you only have to look at the social changes in Peckham and Walworth etc, brought about by building ugly over crowded estates to know that you dont want that in Forest Hill. High density housing combines with a lack of social (pools!!!!) and transport (packed trains!!!) facilities just leads to misery and a poorer quality of life.

Also for someone who has saved and sacrificed to buy a nice house/flat in Forest Hill, does not need the stress of an ugly, cheap, over sized development of 15+ flats built next door where beautiful trees have stood for the past 50 odd years.

There is a government drive to build more houses - but at the same time there is little control over immigration and little in the way of initiatives to minimize the number of single parent familities - so where does it end? I suppose not until we've built over every green space and knocked down every old building of character and architectural interest beacuse it's too big, no longer useful and in the way of progress! Cursing

Find all posts by this user Reply
brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #6
27-08-2008 12:11 PM

Graham
Why is it morally correct for us to accept bigger populations in London. The City is already too crowded.
Frightening article in papers todays from Eurostat that UK population will pass Germany in about 30 to 40 years. We are much smaller than Germany with far less industry.
We should have a moratorium of all immigration for say 5 years. We are already 50% more than in 1940 when we could not even feed the people without American help.
I am sure I am going to be called facist , racist etc and neither is correct. It seems to be a subject we must not mention but just accept an evergrowing crowding especially in The South East.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #7
27-08-2008 12:23 PM

As the buy-to-let market seems to be collapsing, it seems that immigrants are probably leaving. Building is already stalling.

Find all posts by this user Reply
brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #8
27-08-2008 01:01 PM

Sherwood I think you are correct but the projections still say we are due for a population boom.
I , like many others , would like F Hill density to stay the same( already probably more than in its history ).
Why do we have to accept out masters assertions that we must live in more crowded conditions. If people cannot find accomodation they will not come to the area.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
27-08-2008 02:52 PM

Brian,

I think we are crowded enough.
But statistics show that there are now more people over 60 than under 16. This suggests to me that the population will decrease.

Building seems to have stopped now. because the builders cannot sell the new builds. So an increase in density seems unlikely.

Find all posts by this user Reply
brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #10
27-08-2008 02:55 PM

Yes Sherwood I appreciate for next few months few new builds but may be many divisions of existing houses.
We need to fight LBC on every devolpment

Find all posts by this user Reply
spud


Posts: 65
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #11
27-08-2008 03:38 PM

I think that it's morally right that a local council should do their best to maximise the amount of affordable housing in their area where a proven need for it already exists. Although, I accept that there's room for debate about the best or most affordable ways of achieving that.

(Some commentators are also suggesting that the UK is going to need immigration-fuelled population growth to cope with the topsy-turvy demographic imbalance wherein the pensioners are now starting to outnumber the school-age. Otherwise they'll be no-one to pay those pensions...)

Find all posts by this user Reply
grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #12
27-08-2008 05:12 PM

Brian, Sherwood and Gingernuts

(and all those who think that the 'problem' is immigration)

I hope you can all say that you / your families have been living in London since it began a couple of millenia ago, otherwise at some point you or your families were immigrants.

Immigration has always been a part of London; world populations move with economic and other factors. In the 1970's there was a net decrease in population as people left London due to the dock closures, leaving large parts of east London vastly underpopulated. Now London's population is projected to rise because people are coming here not just from overseas but from other parts of the UK.

So Brian, it is incorrect to say that the population is 50% more than in 1940 - claptrap. And yes I do think your comments whilst not overtly racist or fascist have undertones of the former - something I have observed in previous posts from you.

Find all posts by this user Reply
brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #13
27-08-2008 05:41 PM

Graham
The population of the UK in 1940 about 40 million today 61 million.
I fully expected to be targetted as a racist and facist. This is the standard reply to anyone who says there is too much immigration.
One is not allowed to even question the people who say we need more and more people from outside UK. I appreciate not possible to stop internal migration.
I was born and always lived in LBC , is that the case with you Graham.
I take great exception to you infering I am racist. You do not know me and have no way of knowing the facts , but as I said this is the standard reply which I fully expected.

Find all posts by this user Reply
grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #14
27-08-2008 06:03 PM

I'm not going to get drawn into your argument, Brian.

I believe the thread is supposed to be about 'the planning system' and not immigration. If anyone has anything sensible to add.....?

Find all posts by this user Reply
brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #15
27-08-2008 06:37 PM

Fair enough Graham but it was you who inferred I was racist. Seems I am not allowed to rebuke these allegations.

Anyway I agree let us carry on in a positive way.

It is part of the planning debate as to how many dwellings are going to be required.


Best wishes for a nice evening

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #16
27-08-2008 09:46 PM

grahamw,

I did not say that immigration was or is a problem.
I actually said that I thought immigrants were leaving the country!
That may cause a problem for some people!
Am I allowed to say for people who are looking for cheap labour? Or does this make me racist?

I hope you can perceive that I resent people throwing unjustified accusations at others.
By the way my family came over as immigrants with William The Conqueror.

Find all posts by this user Reply
baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #17
28-08-2008 12:45 AM

Thanks Graham, can others stick to the point or start a new thread. Can the Webmaster put this back onto the main site as my point is developments in SE23, the rest of Lewisham is incidental.

The hotch potch as far as I am concerned refers to no strategic vision in how the housing stock has evolved. This means street scenes may lack any sense of coherency - nowt wrong with mixing old and new, but it is a fine art in getting it right.

What we are experiencing is a new breed of selfish owner developers who want their own castles at the expense of others in the vicinity who may feel that there quality of life is degraded by local over development. And here I am talking about people doubling or trippling the size of their place, not affordable housing which is a separate issue.

I have an interesting letter from the Communities Department, for another time,

Find all posts by this user Reply
Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #18
28-08-2008 01:31 AM

Bleeding Normans.
Come over here taking our jobs.
That William the Conq was a right *******.

I regard to development, all I want to add is as the rich get even richer under progressively less and less progressive governments, they have more resources to flatten their homes and start again to their exact specification. So that's what they do.

And if I remember correctly the tax system favours total rebuilds over refurbishments. That does not help either.

Find all posts by this user Reply
grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #19
28-08-2008 09:47 AM

(Sherwood - I'm glad you don't think immigration is a problem. I did not call you a racist, but I apologise if I misread your views.)

In reply to BD,
The point you make is interesting; A desire for a clearly structured and planned urban environment, giving a sense of overall coherency - I wouldn't argue with that at all.

But I also think there needs to be a certain ammount of scope for the individual to improve, extend, infill and re-build. And I think this applies to homogenous Georgian Squares (see example below) as well as 1930's streets. But there are provisos here - the architecture must be exceptional, and other people must not actually suffer (loss of light, privacy etc - not just 'I think it's too big/not in keeping/too modern/too dense'). There is something to be said for eclecticism - the Walter Segal (method) houses in SE23 for example; http://www.themodernhouse.net/docs/intro...d=0:155:28

An examples of really good castle building;
Soane Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields (John Soane demolishes a couple of Georgian townhouses to build his amazing house; http://www.soane.org/history.html

I hope the links work..

Find all posts by this user Reply
gingernuts


Posts: 505
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #20
28-08-2008 11:46 AM

Interesting point Grahamw - so would you approve of the bulldozing of the Soames Museum to build The Modern House?

Incidentially - and to put the record straight - I did not say that immigration was 'the' problem - just pointed out that the government appears to have lost control and sees 'the' answer as 'build more'. This means planning decisions that would never have been approved 20 years ago seem to get the go ahead fairly easily. I suppose it's of little surprise that the words racsist and facsicm would be used - typical. Suppose I'm not single parent-ist then...or is that allowed.

Sorry Baggydave - just needed the right to reply.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Pages (2): « First [1] 2 Next > Last »

Friends of Blythe Hill Fields