October 29, 2014 by Juha Repo
UPDATE 29 October 2014:
A re-consultation has been opened on this planning application. The application has now been amended with the following changes:
The following revisions and additional information have been submitted in support of the planning application and accompanying Environmental Statement:
-Revised residential accommodation mix, including increase in provision of three bedroom affordable units from 3 to 8 units (total number of units remains at 336);
-Revised floor plans and elevations showing minor non-material changes to reflect changes to the residential unit mix;
-Ardent Technical Transport Note / Addendum (P750-019) detailing amended servicing strategy and changes to basement access ramp and basement layout;
-Additional Townscape View from within Tower of London World Heritage Site towards the development site;
-RBA Acoustic Report Addendum (16 September 2014), detailing further acoustic monitoring on Library Street; and
-URS Letter Statement of Environmental Impact Assessment Conformity (dated 18 September 2014)
A copy of the Environmental Statement on disk can be obtained from the Case Officer (or a paper version on request with a charge payable).
This re-consultation period starts on
and ends on
Despite some earlier misunderstanding caused by the ambiguous information from Southwark council, the comments will be received via the email Planning.Consultation@southwark.gov.uk or letters, or a MySouthwark web form on the Southwark Council website.
RE-CONSULTATION on APPLICATION FOR FULL PLANNING PERMISSION
Application number: 14/AP/1862
Address: 128-150 BLACKFRIARS ROAD, LONDON, SE1
Also support the new wider campaign Southwarkresidentssayno.com
Things are moving so quickly in our area, that we have had little chance to inform about the latest major development proposed for Blackfriars Road. This time it is a proposal by Barratt Homes to replace the dilapidated 60’s office blocks on the southeastern side of St. George’s Circus. The consultation will end on Friday 2 August so we all need to act soon if we want our objections registered. The number for this is application is 14/AP/1862.
A few of us went to the public consultation after our May BARD meeting last year. Here we saw the plans which included a 30-storey tower just off St. George’s Circus, opposite the obelisk. Many of us placed our objections to having a building of such a height in this bit of Blackfriars Road, as we felt it was totally out of proportion for the site. Also it is against Southwark approved policy of high buildings from 2009 (downloadable PDF document inside the link), where is stated tall buildings would be allowed in the Northern end of Blackfriars Road, and thus not suitable south of The Cut/Union Street. Yet again this proposal is right at the southernmost end of Blackfria Road. Also we heard the representatives from Barratt telling us in last year’s consultation that there was no way they would consider this development viable without the tower.
Of course we soon knew we were fighting another lost battle, as Southwark Planning (with the Labour councillor majority votes) pushed through the disputed Blackfriars Road SPD where the council accepted that this was a landmark site, where a tall building could be built, ignoring the policy. It was also put to the council’s scrutiny committee which upheld the decision.
The revised plans were then submitted to Southwark Council, and after the consultation one of the tall buildings next to the proposed 30-storey tower was removed from the plans, and the tower itself was reduced by three storeys, to 27. So it must have been clear from the consultation replies that there was a wide objection for the towers on the site, as they did remove one, albeit it the smaller one. And they could argue that the bigger tower has been reduced by three storeys, but overall, the proposed development is still very much out of proportion of anything in this part of the borough and will of course later be seen as a precedent to increase the building height nearby, as we have seen in the case of nearby Valentin Place.
How to object/comment on a planning application
There is a new method of posting your comments to Planning applications by filling out the online form on the Southwark council website. The forms can be found via this link and you have the possibility to use your MySouthwark login (which can be used to pay e.g. for your Council tax and rent) or just use the form without registering. The form is very easy to use, you just need to fill in the number of the application and then you choose whether it is an objection, support or comment and so on.
Comments can be still be sent via email by quoting the application reference, e.g. 14/AP/XXXX in the subject line and sending to Planning.Consultation@southwark.gov.uk. You may also use the post, hand delivery, etc to send us your comments. Postal address is PO Box 64529, London SE1P 5LX, and of course you also need to note the application reference here.
Please not this the email address further down the planning application page on the council website, in the column “Neighbours and statutory consultation”, not the first one you’ll see on the page!
The end of the consultation period for this development in 128-150 Blackfriars Road is 2 August 2014. Southwark Council will however still receive comments from each planning application until the time the application comes to a Planning Committee meeting to be decided. In this case it may not happen until September or even October. But if you want your comments to be included in the planner’s report o the committee they need to be in about 2 weeks before the meeting. Any comments received later will be added to the Addendum report on the night, or even be reported verbally if they have missed the Addendum report as well.
So anyone who feels that the proposed tower of 27 storeys is inappropriate for the location, and against council policy, and could be seen as a precedent for further high-rise development, should act fast.
Please take some time to read our previous post on what can be considered valid objections for a planning application.You will need to refer to correct terms to have any chance of being considered in the decision process.
We are adding two images from the planning documents which we feel represent best what the impact of this proposed development would be like for Blackfriars Road.
One interesting document to see how the proposals have progressed, with constant discussion with Southwark planners is here. It would seem they developers first proposed something that was mostly in keeping with the building height in the location. Questions could be asked whether it was actually Southwark Planning who suggested that this might well be one of their “landmark” sites where they wanted high towers to help people navigate in the borough? In any case the proposals have been, like most in the borough, discussed in detail with Southwark planners and revised several times, so it is yet again very unlikely the planners will oppose this development, or that the planning committee majority would vote against it, as they very rarely do these days.
But despite the bleak outlook for any success in changing or stopping the developments, our opinion should still be registered as this is still just about the only way to use our democratic right to voice our opinions in what gets built in our neighbourhoods. I think most of us agree that almost any development would improve this run-down site, but the obsession for high towers is what has angered many. It is also worth noting that according the planning documents this development would provide only around 26% affordable housing, far below the recommended 40% and the minimum of 35%. Unfortunately this also seems to be commonplace in Southwark and falling below the affordable housing policy has not been a ground for refusal by the planning committee.
Note! This article has been edited 25 July to correct misinformation about how Southwark receives comments to planning applications based on the comment from Gary Rice, Head of Development Management, Planning, Southwark Council below. Also the consultation end date has been edited to reflect the one on Southwark Planning website.