Planning Forum meeting June 2013: some feedback

2 mins read

Author: Cyril Richert
On Tuesday, June 4th, was organised the Planning Forum at Wandsworth Borough Town Hall. You will find below some comments and feedback. As usual, they do not intend to replace any minutes (that we usually receive only a few days before next meeting anyway… 🙁 ).
Argh! 45 minutes spent on that… it says it all!
a) It started with a lengthy discussion raised by one of us on the legislation about offices converted and residential blocks redeveloped. In a nutshell the issue of the vacancies for a very long period of time of premises (shops). If all developers are asked mix-used developments, is it going to be viable? Martin Howell (officer, planning policy) replied that policy is that in town centre they wish mixed used, it does not mean shops only (it can be community, etc) but it means active frontage.
b) Nick Evans (Friends of Putney Common – FoPC) asked about the progress that was made on resolving issues with the formatting of the planning portal. Martin Howell said that the company they use  has changed their customer manager a few time, thus the delay in addressing anything. However:

  1. they promised the formatting online comment will be introduced in V4 (September 2013 release)
  2. they said that adding people name (when they fill online comment) was more difficult (i.e. they try to find excuses to not do it!) but the planning department is pushing on that.

c) Nick Evans found also that the minutes were not clear about the policy on wide angle (and the point I raised last time). Tim Cronin showed a little bit of irritation to have to deal with that again and said the certified AVR by the company working with the developer are “the closest images that you can get by naked eye” (although probably not recorded in the minutes we will have to remember that).
d) When I took over about the minutes Cllr Cuff started to be annoyed that we get again other the things that were discussed last time. A couple of things should have been recorded in the minutes, including Cllr King agreeing that at least an acknowledgement should be sent in response to letters received by the planning department. Other quotes were completely absent regarding statements on wide-angle images but Cllr Cuff had enough and after saying that no, he was not authorising access to the tape recorded of last meeting, he added that those are just minutes, that is not really important!
So, 45 minutes later…
Martin Howell repeated what he said last time on the consultation:

  • policy maps are shown in the plans.
  • changes and updates appear clearly with colours (accommodation, retail surface, new town centre at Nine Elms…etc)

He said it doesn’t stop commenting to things that have not been changed, but encourages to comment on things that have been changed.

  1. New rights for residentials since 30 May 2013: outside conservation no need for planning permission to extend 3-6m and 4-8m (if detached). Wandsworth Borough Council will send a notice solely to the neighbours to the boundaries of the property. Objections will have to be made within the 21 calendar day period.
  2. Change of use from office to residential: non of the Council bids were successful but the Mayor of London managed to have exemption for central London , which includes up to Nine Elms.

Duplication (to apply for conservation area consent for the demolition) is removed. It will be covered by the planning application.

  • Northern Line extension consultation: representation must be addressed to the SoS for Transport.
  • Consultation on Cross Rail2: Metro vs Regional proposal. Regional includes the Metro routes but extends to join the national rail network. In Ragional plan tunnels are bigger, trains bigger and longer. The Metro plan is similar to the Tube.
  • Nick Evans said that the minutes and new agend was snet with a very short notice (Friday 31st for meeting on Tuesday 4th). He asked that WBC considers the possibility of deputation before the PAC.
  • Cllr Nick Cuff said that they are thinking about merging the agents forum (planning matters discussed with architects, developers, planners) which is rather unattended with the planning forum.

Next date TBD (when decision is made about the merge).

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.