Friday, 18 June 2010

St Anselm's Project - Further Consultation

Earlier this year, you might remember that I blogged about the St Anselm's church consultation (with videos).  A plan was put forward which proposed turning the church into a large community centre, complete with restaurant, deli,  large hall, small chapel, church area, small spaces for businesses and supervised flats for ex-offenders who'd be helped back into work.  Three local charities/businesses were invited to use the space, including the excellent Into University, who help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access University.  In general, I felt that whilst the project had a few risks, it was actually an innovative use for a building that is locked most of the time.  Actually, that itself is quite a frustrating point concerning a number of local churches.  There's nothing in St Anselm's that looks particularly worth stealing, and huge numbers of people (be they believers or otherwise) like to visit churches, light candles and sit quietly etc.  It would be great if they'd consider opening the doors, other than just on Sundays...

Anyhow, at the fabulous Cleaver Square fete (see photos), I learned that the Duchy of Cornwall (who own a fair bit of property in and around SE11) were also interested in the future of the site, and felt that they had some buildings at the back of the project that might also benefit from improvement/development.  Consequently, it seems that a revised consultation has been launched.  (Also, from the text below, it appears that potentially, Lambeth Council Planning were not happy on the issue of conservation / streetscape matters.  I don't believe that St Anselm's ever formally submitted their proposal, so perhaps they've been advised to go back to the drawing board before they do submit).  In any case, I'd really like to see whether what they're proposing now differs markedly from earlier plans.

After the first round of consultation in February, I received responses and emails from a number of people complaining that they didn't have enough knowledge of what was proposed, and hadn't been consulted.  I did request the questionnaire at the time for blog readers, but it was never forthcoming, although I did eventually get hold of the videos (which are great).  Consider the text below a second opportunity re. consultation, and do inform anybody that you know who is not online that might be interested...  (It's already been on the Kennington Association blog, and around various local lists, and via Councillors etc.)

I will be attending the consultation and will photograph/obtain copies of plans, in the usual manner :). The following text has been very widely circulated, but here it is for you once again.  :

“North Lambeth Parish and its St Anselm’s Pathways project have been overwhelmed by the level of public support for its emerging plans for St Anselm’s. However, Lambeth Council’s Planning Department is concerned that the scale and architectural character of the new building proposed for Sancroft Street might have a negative impact on the character and setting of the church. Following on from the Council’s comments, the Parish has begun discussions with the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns adjacent land, about whether a scheme could be developed which might enable the Parish to provide the facilities it needs beyond the confines of its own land ownership, and which might improve the character and appearance of Sancroft Street and the neighbouring area in the long term. Lambeth Council has welcomed the principle of this long term planning and joint approach to the design, and a number of initial sketch options have been prepared for discussion with the Council and local community. As yet there is no preferred option or design.

On 28th June we will be presenting initial ideas emerging from this collaboration between the Parish and Duchy, and we would like to ensure that comments are received from a wide range of stakeholders before we progress designs further. We will be starting the event with afternoon tea provided by the CLINK at 3.30pm and will have canapés and wine at 6.30pm. Please do drop in anytime between 3.30 and 7.30pm

There will be representatives on hand to answer questions, drawings will be on show for comment and questionnaire forms will be available as for the last public consultation in January.

A summary of consultation responses received in January is attached.

We hope to see you on 28th June either for tea or canapés.”

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