Thursday, 11 February 2010

Brief note on KOV public meeting and Mayor's Plan

I was somewhat disappointed by the KOV public meeting this evening. There were some good representations made by local community members re. loss of industrial land for local employment. We heard about issues relating to the cost of building public transport (and how this may not help overcrowding on the Northern Line). There were notable remarks about the need for family accommodation and discussion about avoiding high density residential housing. There were comments from various locals who are not in favour of high rise buildings and a high degree of concern about the lack of open space in Lambeth. Somebody wanted to know whether the consultation would even go anywhere, and how local concerns would really be heard and a local resident was concerned that the local estate was just seen to exist to 'do something for' in a kind of ghetto. A number of people had read and commented on the whole document (well done!), and I'm hoping their preliminary remarks might be published soon... I had hoped to write something myself, but the document is huge, and there may be too much to say.

The man from the Mayor's Office seemed disappointed with (most of) the residents, who weren't impressed by the plan, and he wants to hear alternative ideas because, as he said (and I tend to agree), the developers will just proceed inevitably because, as somebody else said, Lambeth are just a huge soft touch when it comes to granting planning permission. I wanted to ask why Lambeth Council have to consider planning permission requests before the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document is even finished, but it all seemed a bit pointless because everybody knows that money talks loud.

A number of local politicans spoke (Kate Hoey dropped in, which should be noted, since I'm sure there are less depressing evenings to be had), but none of the politicians or residents really sounded convinced that this inevitable lumbering project could be persuaded to change direction. Some people even seemed to think that the cost of transport would cause the developers to increase the density further, and one person said the proposed development would place a population the size of Welwyn Garden City in one sixth of the space.

Participation in the evening (as with many other consultations) seemed unrepresentative. I spotted no BME residents at all this evening (surely that must be wrong... this is Lambeth). There were too many bumbling old people who just burbled on and took ages to get to any semblance of a point (but that's just public meetings, I guess). A sense of defeat hangs heavily in the air (but that might just be my mood).

The Mayor's office want comments, but didn't invite the audience to visit County Hall and sit around the table and start drafting documents. I don't know who believes that it is possible to make any kind of difference. Everybody knows that something needs to happen in Nine Elms. There is a haven of opportunity in front of us, but nobody seems to think it's an opportunity for them.

Ahh well, tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous said...

Of course we can (and will) all disagree on this, but let us not pretend this is some secret plan dreamed up in a back room that has just been sprung on us.

This is a comprehensive plan developed by elected and appointed representatives that takes into account targets (developed by us via our elected officials), which has been extensively consulted on at various stages over the past 2+ years.

And there are many of us, myself included, who fed in comments via a wide consultation and now see this draft plan and think it holds promise. We don't attend the meetings - we think it holds 'promise for us' and hits the mark.

As always, those who fundamentally disagreed all along, and were in the minority, will continue to be highly vocal and try all means available (including the tired 'no one asked us' argument) to derail it. Suggesting that developers are paying money to get kid glove treatment sells, but is there any evidence of this? Thought not.

Anonymous said...

If you live very close to the proposed cluster of tall buildings, I can see why you might be annoyed. shadows and so on.

But if you live slightly to the west or south, the plan has its attractions. Especially the Northern Line extension.

The bloke from the GLA suggested repeatedly that the alternative to the plan is a drip drip of uncoordinated tower all liklihood resulting in less s.106 money... And at least the plan includes green routes to river + linear park.

if the plan is canned, will a cluster of towers emerge anyway? on the basis that the 180 metre St G Wharf tower got approval from the secreatry of state, it has to be odds on?

Anonymous said...

Three wheeled one had it spot on. Please do not believe the 'we dont attend meetings'anonymous comment. So off the mark I suspect a vested interest.

Who decided to put 'a cluster' of towers in Vauxhall?
Were the locals 'extensively consulted' on this massive change to their skyline and environment? I dont think so.

How anon can declare those who disagree are the minority? The view from SW8 is very opposed to living in the shadow of tall skyscrapers as far as I can see.. Nimby sure but not anti development in principle or scale which gives a nod to Vauxhalls heritage and to those already living in its 'hinterland', where the plans will put most pressure.

Nine Elms definitely needs relandscaping. New Covent Garden ditto needs a serious makeover.

However waking up to a 150m tower at the end of your road is a life changing view, further eroding those qualities already under pressure. After having the Vauxhall Tower forced upon them 'Our Elected Representitives and Appointed Officers" in LBLambeth seems now resigned to the precedent created by central govt diktat with 15 more towers in developers plans. Local democracy and voices are paid lipservice with meetings taken up with developers and architects soft soap and misleading slideshows.

Make your voice heard. Sign the petition opposing the Octave Tower

Anonymous said...

I had about a six page brochure complete with numerous questions through my (and all my neighbours) letterbox about a year ago. It asked specifically about my preference and is used in the draft. It has been discussed numerous times at public meetings. And, by electing public officials to act on your behalf and express your views, they have agreed The London Plan, which is where your politics (demand for more housing, more green space, more regeneration, better health, etc.) is turned into targets - all of which are addressed in the draft.

By all means, petition - such is your right. But please, respectfully, knock off the 'oh my god this is being done without our knowledge from some dark room' bit.

Anonymous said...

does the plan propose 15 towers?

I thought it was 5 or 6

Anonymous said...

maybe the BME poulation aren't represented in KOV or the KA and therefore hadn't heard of the event. or maybe the BME population don't live in the streets with most to lose from the proposed development.

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