As of today, 137 Public Comments have been submitted online and can be read on Lambeth’s website. Further comments will have been sent in by email and post. Only Objections that are based on planning grounds can be taken into account; however most of the online Objections do specify valid planning grounds.
Given that the Applications, although made by GLL, are Council-supported, the Planning Committee can be expected to strive not only to be impartial, but to be seen to be impartial. Their decision will be open to challenge in Court by way of ‘judicial review of administrative action ’.
Why the Applications should be refused
The proposal is seriously non-compliant with the Lambeth Local Plan, which:
- states the ‘agreed strategy’ for Carnegie as ‘a community hub and library’
- safeguards ‘existing community premises’ unless certain conditions are met [none is met]
- states that planning powers will be used ‘to ensure that special regard is paid to sustaining and enhancing the historic environment’ [no regard is paid to this]
- requires ‘optimum viable use’ of a listed building [which a gym at Carnegie clearly is not]
- rules out developing more than 30% of rear gardens generally [more than half is taken]
- rules out destroying a garden which is the setting of a heritage asset [the garden is ruined]
- requires adequate parking and servicing provision [new building consumes the small car park that is essential for servicing Carnegie in a cramped residential area]
- requires adequate parking provision [residents all around Carnegie park on-street]
The development would:
- create increased traffic in residential streets as gym users drive to Carnegie from early morning to late evening, all requiring on street parking
- adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbours by increased noise and disturbance and worsened parking difficulty
- adversely affect the residential character of the area
- adversely affect the character and appearance of a Listed Building by the poorly designed extension and plant compounds, which would degrade both the building and its setting
The proposed Change of Use, if allowed, would result in the removal from PUBLIC ownership of a landmark listed building that is also registered (by Lambeth Council, in January 2016) as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011.
ACV listing is a ‘material consideration’ for the Planning Committee.
Cooperative Council, ‘focusing on citizens’?
One Public Comment (11 December) points out that the Council’s behaviour in relation to Carnegie contradicts its own Policy ‘Behaviours for the Cooperative Council’:
‘Focuses on Citizens
This behaviour is about having a continual focus on the outcomes that are delivered for local citizens and other stakeholders. It goes beyond ‘wanting to do the right thing’ to genuinely engaging with and listening to citizens, understanding their needs and helping them make decisions about the services they want and need. Fundamentally, having a focus on citizens means we view them as an asset who can make a valuable contribution to the Borough”.
Locally, over the past two years we have not experienced willingness on the part of the Council to work with any of the interested parties in Herne Hill in the spirit of what is intended by this Policy.
It seems likely that the case will go before the Planning Committee in January. A regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 17th January. No agenda as yet, but the final officer reports deadline is 4th January and the agenda publication deadline is Friday 6th January.
Committee members and their contact details are listed here: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgCommitteeMailingList.aspx?ID=600
We understand from Planning Officer Lauren Shallcross that although the Site Notice expired on 12 December ‘comments can still be submitted via the website up until the planning application is determined’.
Do make your views known, if you haven’t already done so.
Carnegie Community Trust CIO