Author: Cyril Richert
On Thursday, July 12th, was organised the Planning Forum  at Wandsworth Borough Town Hall. You will find below some comments and feedback. They do not intend to replace any minutes and are obviously my own views of the meeting (and comments in red).
Local Development Framework
Since the last meeting, the Council officers have spent the beginning of the year working on analysing and commenting the responses to the consultation (both comments on the DMPD and on the SSAD). We have already published an article commenting the direct responses to the concerns raised by CJAG .
The documents were submitted to the Secretary of States on May 27th and are now under examination by an independent inspector until the end of the year. It is expected that the examination will take place at the end of September 2011.
The Council is planning to adopt the final policy by Spring 2012.
The amount of enforcement (complaints regarding planning procedure – or lack of planning) has significantly grown in the last years. Some of the most common cases include:
- Building Work
- Change of use
- Untidy land
- Work to listed buildings
The government owns advice is to negotiate. If it fails, the local authorities can consider taking enforcement action; however it considers also if it will achieve the purpose. In their address they will consider whether the matter is contrary to the planning policies adopted by the Council and the impact on the neighbourhood.
The officer reported however that enforcement were very costly and time consuming for (too) often a small consequence (a fine of £500) and therefore is never the preferred option. There are currently 4 enforcement officers in Wandsworth Borough Council.
Planning Web Pages
In view of the recurrent difficulties on the Council website last year, a lot of resources have been dedicated to the issue:
- upgrade of the whole website
- move to a new system
- new search fields
- new services: planning explorer, mapping (excellent service!)
During the meeting it was noted that comments were only available when you view the documents. Although it is voluntary, the officers will see how it is possible to display a warning message.
Several improvement were also listed for future upgrades:
- It is currently difficult to make the difference between ongoing developments and alread done.
- Need to scroll down completely to get the View related documents.
- If the application is new, its boundary is not on the map and will appears only once the boundary is captured (and the consultation starts).
Central Government Legislation
The main concept of the Localism Bill is the neighbourhood planning (people can get together and write plans).
As I requested on behalf of the Clapham Junction Action Group, we should have a presentation of the Localism Bill (currently on progress with Parliament) at the next meeting.
The National Planning Policy Framework is summarizing 3 meters of documents into a simple 50 page national planning development guideline.
Next meeting: mid-October 2011
 I’m still wondering whether it is semi-annual or quarterly… or random 😉
 Since our contribution criticising the change of town centre boundaries (see our contribution here and comment there) in a clear attempt to allow taller building in the location of the Peabody Estate (despite previous comments of the inspector) we heard that this was also highlighted by the Wandsworth Society, the Putney Society and the Labour group in the Council. Only the Clapham Junction Town Centre Partnership is supporting the recommendation as we discovered in their representation (that we did not received previously).
Did you like reading this article? Help us writing more!
Clapham Junction Insider (formerly called 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:
- 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.
- 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.