Ram Brewery inquiry: report from week 1

2 mins read

Difficult to describe what has been going on. Apart from opening speeches as described by Tony Belton, 7 witnesses for the development, both for Minerva and for the Council, have so far given evidence and been questioned closely. You really need to be there. General awareness now that the funding for road works, however probable, is not guaranteed for a variety of reasons. We shall listen to Transport for London tomorrow (Wed) and then the Mayor of London’s people. Possibly some third party speakers will be invited to speak.
In Week 3 there will be two days given over to the Health & Safety Executive who object on the grounds of the hazard of the adjacent gas holder and then a day of the council refuting the claims.

Week1

For Minerva:
i) Daniel Cove, the architect, full of his own skills and expertise and of course enthusiasm for the buildings. We had opportunity to study the various models which seem to show hundreds of little ants crawling about at the base of the buildings, people of course.
ii) Dr Chris Miele (conservation) was very interesting on the conservation aspects and obviously historically very knowledgeable. Spolt it by saying he thought scheme did not harm the listed buildings. (Wandsworth town centre has biggest concentration of listed buildings in borough, 43, of which 10 are Grade II*)
iii) Paul Burley (planning) unable to answer several questions relating to his Proof of Evidence, constantly referred us to the other experts. He didn’t think that WBC being more than on London Plan target for new homes was any reason why development might be reduced somewhat. Said the views chosen (eg no viewpoints such as from the Crane and the adjacent cottages) were those suggested by WBC. Said, basically, that lack of amenity space (6m sq instead of WBC guideline of 20m sq), poor quality of light to some flats, short distances between windows, and almost anything else that was not as planning guidelines had been accepted by WBC… so that was all right then.
iv) David Hunter Yeats (traffic) Main drift of his evidence (as of all speakers) was that everything was acceptable because of the benefits to be brought by providing funding for new road system. But said also that traffic from the site would be so insignificant it would not be noticed among the present 2000 an hour each way around the system (each way on a one-way system?)
Lots of quotes about the over-capacity of network Rail and buses so they were well able to cope. Other statistics showed the opposite to be true. Under-provision of public car-parking for shops & restaurants was excused on the basis that the Southside car parks could be used (almost every development in the town centre has used this excuse, won’t be long before NCP car park is full all day).

Week 2 (so far…)

For Council:
John Webb for council (conservation). His Proof of Evidence, 42 pages, did spell out all the wonderful historical heritage in the town centre and also listed some 11 various planning policies designed to protect heritage buildings, did say there was some harm done, but after all the 42 pages he summed it up in one about para that approved of everything and denied serious damage. Got a probing questioning from John Dawson [Wandsworth Society].
Tim Cronin for council (planning) making case that scheme conformed to London Plan, UDP, Core Strategy, Govt guidelines. But it’s all a matter of interpretation ‘may be appropriate’ can also mean ‘may not be’. Questioning of him continues tomorrow.
The Wandsworth has closely questioned all the witnesses so far. The Inspector and the Assistant Inspector make the witnesses answer further questions from them if they consider a Wandsworth Society point has not been answered fully. It has been a tiring and nerve-wracking experience for the society questioners.
Section 106 Agreement was produced yesterday for first time and is being studied by the society.

The timetable for the Ram Brewery inquiry is available on our Agenda page.

Did you like reading this article? Help us writing more!

CJAG website has been publishing local news for more than 14 years and remains committed to providing local community information and public interest journalism.

We aim to feature as much as possible on community campaigns and initiatives, local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents and helping residents.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

Until recently, all stories, analysis and reports published have been made with the great help of many volunteers. However, at the end of the day it cost time and efforts and we are frustrated that we cannot do more: there are many subjects that we would like to cover but we need financial resources to help us providing regular information.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

2 ways of supporting our project

Do you think what we are doing is helping the community and you want to encourage us to do more? We have set up two ways of supporting our project:

  1. Paypal: For one-off contributions, you can just use your bank card. However if you wish to encourage and support us regularly with a small amount, you will need a Paypal account to set up a monthly subscription. Click here to donate.
  2. Patreon: this is a well-known membership platform that connects content creators with supporters. Mainly, it offers financial tools that let supporters subscribe to projects that give creators a predictable income stream as they continue to create content. Click here to subscribe and support us regularly.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.