Windsor Grove – Stop the scrapyard

This is an edited version of the objection Thurlow Park Councillors are making to the current proposals sign the community petition here . We strongly encourage Lambeth residents to formally object to this application – you can do so by clicking here and searching for Windsor Grove.

Thurlow Park Councillors object in the strongest possible terms to the proposed application by Urban & Provincial for Windsor Grove SE27 which has been validated and is currently out for re-consultation. The impact of this development would be considerable, and in our roles as affected ward Councillors have been, liaising with local groups and residents on this issue. The application has not materially altered since the original consultation in 2020 to which we also objected.

Following a briefing session for Councillors on 21 May our previous assessment remains unchanged – there are no grounds for confidence in this application or to believe that this won’t have detrimental effects throughout West Norwood. We would also note the correspondence of 17 May where the GLA concluded that the ‘the application does not fully comply with the London Plan.’

Cllr Fred Cowell with Helen Hayes MP and Cllr Jackie Meldrum of Knights Hill Ward at Windsor Grove.

The grounds for opposing this application are;

  1. Increased use of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Ordinary Good Vehicles throughout West Norwood And West Dulwich

The original application that was submitted showed was a based on a COBA survey which showed a higher number of vehicle movements in and out of the site than there is in the current proposals. According to the applicant’s latest figures there would be 45 HGV movements each day. This contrasts with 120 HGV movements as recorded in their own September 2019 survey. The current figure seems to be around 78 vehicles a day but even then, this is only projected and could well be more, especially as they would be making up capacity for loss of facility at Shakespeare Road in Herne Hill.

2. Lack of any enforceable safeguards on vehicle numbers

The projected numbers of vehicles are by way of a commercial proposal. They are not legally enforceable nor has the applicant come forward with concrete proposals to make them legally enforceable. Planning officers when pressed were very vague on the question suggesting that there might be the scope for restricting the overall net numbers of vehicles with funding paid for by the applicant. Whilst it might be possible to put in place a clear limitation on the size of vehicles to limit HGV’s using the facility, the overall quantity of lorry-sized vehicles will be far harder to control. Furthermore, it is difficult if not impossible to bind the applicants as a matter of law to any such commitment. This will inevitably mean putting a significant burden onto local residents by increasing the number of large lorries on residential streets, posing health hazards, congestion, safety issues and damage to the road all of which would be a direct result of permitting this application to go ahead in any form.

3. Lack of any safeguards about destination

This relates to point 2 there is no means of guaranteeing a route for these vehicles using the site  that will manage the traffic flows in the area. At the moment it is proposed there will be restrictions on turning out of Windsor Grove to encourage vehicles to travel southwards. But, beyond the initial constrictions on turning there is means of controlling how vehicles enter and exit the Windsor Grove facility. To give an indication of what this means; were these vehicles to be using Croxted or Rosendale Road to head southwards to the site (or northwards away from it) this would result in a quadrupling of lorry seized vehicles on these roads.  Residents are already seeking an HGV ban on these roads but given the size of the type of OGV’s that the applicant is proposing on using these would still be adding to traffic, pollution, congestion and safety concerns on these roads. Again, any commitments in this area are not legally binding on the applicant or any drivers that work for them. This means that you need to assume the worst in terms of concentrations of vehicles because quite simply there is no mechanism for stopping them.

There are other grounds for opposing this application based on air quality, overall pollution and the way that this would deleteriously affect West Norwood Town Centre which has undergone a renaissance in the last 10 years, led by Council initiatives, which this application would only set back. These are amply covered in objections from the Norwood Forum, the Norwood Action Group, the NPA and the community at large and provide a strong basis for a refusal.

The pertinent point however is this – whilst it may be possible to control vehicle size in the permission granted to the applicant, it is simply not possible to control vehicle numbers, vehicle emissions and vehicle routes with conditions in grant of permission. The numerous reports that have been commissioned on this – such as the independent EIA assessment – skirt around this fact. This means that even in the very best-case scenario there can be no guarantee that the use of this site will not evolve into a pattern of usage where there is a large and unsustainable increase of traffic.

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