Jan 14th Consultation Meeting Notes

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Jan 14th Consultation Meeting Notes

A second public consultation event took place on Saturday 14th January between 11 – 3.30pm at the Ewart Road Club House. The event was attended overall by about 50-60 people throughout the day. All attendees were encouraged to formally give their views by completing a survey form. A number issues and concerns were raised during the presentation discussion, which are summarised as follows:


Proposed Housing Policy at Whitbread Road

  • Residents of Whitbread road received a flyer through their door telling them that the HopCroft Forum were proposing to build block of 10 flats and were raising concerns around increased noise, traffic, light and reduced play space as well as loss of garages. The flyer was not delivered by the forum, but by someone who has interpreted the policy into something it is not and so residents attended thinking they were responding to a planning application.  
  • The forum confirmed that:
    • This was not a proposed planning application, but a policy that is favouring community-led and affordable housing on that site, should the site be developed in future.
    • That we had observed that the space is behind hording and therefore seemed unlikely that it was being used as community greenspace and playspace
    • That the area pertaining to the policy, does not have garages, as far as we know, but that they will recheck this.
  • Contrary to these objections, subsequent local residents who dropped in during the day supported something being done at the site writing counter-arguments to the comments captured on the posters. 
  • Another discussion centred around more housing will bring more demand for cars. A number of residents raised the point that at the national and local level, housing developments need to be designed to reduce reliability on the car; that car sharing schemes could be an option; and that the plan can’t do anything about controlled parking zones. Controlled parking has previously been proposed and consulted on and residents have objected to this being put in place. Parking for businesses was also raised as a concern.
  • Some residents raised a concern that there are insufficient school and doctor places in the area and so more housing will put pressure on the existing facilities. The Forum explained that national and Lewisham policy is the main mechanism for managing this issue, however the Neighbourhood Plan policy stipulates that new development should undertake a full social infrastructure study to ensure adequate provision is maintained.
  • Through several conversations, it was agreed that a potential way forward would be to look at planning that space in more detail, with the residents, to ensure that any future development is sensitive to the issues raised.


Proposed Housing Policy at Honor Oak Park

  • Another discussion centred around the proposed housing site adjacent to Honor Oak Park station. Objections from the audience centred around the following issues:
    • The reason for the mature chestnut and other trees removal was allegedly due to Southwark Council illegally dumping rubbish at the site, which had caused the land to start slipping. This led to Network Rail cutting down the trees and reinforcing the land with concrete to stop it slipping further.
    • Residents stated that in 2010 Network Rail had promised to reinstate the tree cover, but has yet to do so.
    • People using Honor Oak Station valued the space before the trees were cut down with many bird songs being heard, and irrespective of the trees now gone, it offers a fantastic view towards One Tree Hill and towards the rest of the linear green corridor along the railway line;  that it is a site of nature conversation importance which should be allowed to re-establish itself once more.
  • The Forum accepted that this view is a very valid one and that if this is the general consensus then the policy will not remain, but did state that the purpose for including it was discussed at length and was due to a number of factors, including:
    • While the site is a SINC, it was also seen by some residents as having lost that status, given the degradation of the vegetation therefore seen as an eye-sore
    • That the site is believed to be within the boundary, and that Southwark’s plans for the land around the cemetery have never been communicated formally to the Forum
    • That Network Rail is undertaking a process to dispose of many of their rail-side land for housing and that if this happened, the residents wanted a policy that ensured reinstating biodiversity as part of any redevelopment.
  • Those objecting were encouraged to say so in their feedback proposing the alternative as a nature improvement location, and that the Forum shall ensure that Southwark Council and the stakeholder groups representing the cemetery site are also given the opportunity to respond.


Objections to New Housing

  • The Forum explained that a neighbourhood plan can’t just say no to development without valid reasons and evidence, and the stance of saying no completely to new development will not be supported by the planning authority or any planning inspector. The Forum also explained that redevelopment will happen whether we like it or not, so we must not miss the opportunity to ensure the policies deliver the right type of housing.
  • Others in the audience voiced a concern that by saying no to affordable housing is like ‘drawing up a bridge’ and not allowing new communities to move in. They raised a concern that recent housing prices has made the area largely unaffordable, and its once diverse community is slowly becoming 'mono-cultured', and that the policies must reflect the need for affordable housing.
  • It was also suggested, that potentially other more suitable sites for housing are possible in the area, and suggested that other sites mentioned in the plan as potential future sites, like the Jenner Centre site, and sites which had previously had planning permission for redevelopment be more emphasised for housing.


Boundary of the Plan

  • Some members of the audience voiced their concern that the neighbourhood boundary does not represent what they consider to be their total neighbourhood area of Honor Oak; The Forum explained that the reasons were raised and addressed previously back in 2013/14 and that the boundary is now approved.
  • However, the Forum accepted the view that the people’s notion of their neighbourhood varies and that no boundary will ever be 100% right and that linkages with neighbouring areas and key destinations is important. The Forum mentioned how the ‘Three Peaks’ route actually illustrates just how the neighbourhood is connected to a wider context and catchment area.
  • The Forum will include more information about how Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park relates to neighbouring areas and how it fits into the wider spatial context in the next draft of the Plan.


Areas of Special Character

  • An attendee voiced that the area of special character currently defined in the Plan, did not reflect other roads of equal importance. The Forum encouraged everyone to mention streets they feel should be included. The Forum also mentioned that they are engaging with the technical support team offered by the Locality grant funding to write up a character assessment of the area, and hope that this report will provide further evidence for inclusion of specific streets and strengthen the heritage aspects of the neighbourhood.


Brockley Corridor Policy

  • An attendee questioned why a policy about the Brockley corridor works was necessary and mentioned that places like Ladywell didn’t have a neighbourhood plan and yet had their roads improved. The Forum explained that they wanted to ensure there are policies in place to still influence the future of any public realm works, and that also the policies can guide future Community Infrastructure Levy funding.
  • Others also raised a concern that the high street is dominated by heavy traffic, a through road, not somewhere where you come to stay, no outdoor seating etc and that could something be done to encourage shops to make this more into a destination.