Infill application rejected on Lancaster Avenue

Last month we submitted an objection to application 19/00092/FUL – a proposed 2-storey infill at 25 Lancaster Avenue.

We’ve had a number of issues with the Longwood Hotel site and were concerned that this was an inappropriate development that may exacerbate these. The two one-bed flats proposed were too tiny, the height, scale, siting, bulk, massing and design were not in keeping with the conservation area, and the design did not meet sustainability or energy standards.

We’re really pleased to learn this weekend that planning officers agreed – the application has been refused!

The decision to refuse sites:

  • The proposed development, by reasons of its height, scale, bulk and massing would close the space between the buildings of 23 and 25 Lancaster Road and result in a dominant development that would be out of keeping with the established pattern of development in the area;
  • The development would result in less than substantial harm the character and appearance of the Lancaster Avenue Conservation Area, and this harm would not be outweighed by the public benefits flowing from the scheme The proposed development, by reasons of its height, scale, bulk and massing would close the space between the buildings of 23 and 25 Lancaster Road and result in a dominant development that would be out of keeping with the established pattern of development in the area;
  • The proposed development would fail to promote sustainable methods of transport;
  • The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the scheme has been designed in accordance with the London Plan energy hierarchy and, in order to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of 35%.

Friends of Norwood Park AGM next month

The Friends of Norwood Park are holding their AGM on 1st July at 7pm (venue tbc) – you can contribute your thoughts on what you would like to see in the park and get involved in making the park a successful community space for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.

To take part fully, why not become a member? You can sign up on their website here – http://www.friendsofnorwoodpark.co.uk/

The Friends of Norwood Park are always looking for new members to help support park projects, make decisions about the park, and join their fun volunteering sessions. It’s a £4 annual membership fee to join, which helps support the Friends and allows them to continue our work.

Report from the police regarding an incident last night on Croxted Road

A number of residents got in touch last night, concerned about reports of an acid attack on Croxted Road.

We sought an urgent update from police, and were relieved that the substance used was not acid:

At approximately 1815 on Monday, 3 June police received a phone call to Croxted Road in relation to a possible acid attack. Police, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service were quickly on scene and administered first aid to the male victim.

Following testing of the substance by the London Fire Brigade at the scene it was confirmed that the substance used was not acid. It is likely that an irritant such as CS or Pepper spray was used in the assault.

The investigation is still ongoing, extensive CCTV and witness enquiries were carried out at the scene and attempts to identify the suspect vehicle involved are ongoing

Our thoughts are with the victim, with our best wishes for a speedy recovery. If you saw anything, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or give info via http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org .

Reporting abandoned vehicles

Many of you have been in touch about abandoned vehicles in your neighbourhoods. It can be frustrating when parking is at a premium to see spaces used indefinitely by vans, cars or caravans that are never moved and left to slowly disintegrate. They can also attract anti-social behaviour, with a van on Chatsworth Way for example recently having its windows smashed.

We encourage residents to report abandoned vehicles – the more reports made, the easier the case is to get them removed. You can do this with a simple online form here: www.lambeth.gov.uk/forms/report-an-abandoned-vehicle-form

If you’re making a report, please let us know! We can keep track of how many abandoned vehicles there are and chase up your reports, to get some action taken. We find it as frustrating as many of you do that it can take so long to get anything done about abandoned vehicles, so please do keep us in the loop so that we can add our voices to your reporting, as well as encouraging neighbours to do the same.

With the van on Chatsworth Way – we have been reporting this for a while now both to the council and to the DVLA, and know that other residents on this street have been very diligent in doing so too. The response to our initial enquiries was that it did not meet the criteria for an abandoned vehicle as it was taxed and had an MOT, and was not damaged. We have met with officers since and argued that these should not be the only criteria used. Since the window was smashed, we have also requested an additional street clean from Veolia to clear up broken glass, and Councillor Peter Ely has taped up the window to try and prevent further glass falling on the pavements.

Barclays Bank closure – campaign update

A big thank you to everyon who signed our petition! We have been able to demonstrate the strength of feeling of the local community to Barclays and secure a meeting with some of their directors.

With Helen Hayes MP, Florence Eshalomi AM and councillors in Thurlow Park and Knights Hill, we met with bank directors in Parliament to lobby for the branch to stay open. We shared many of the comments and concerns from residents, businesses and charities about the impact that the branch closure could have. We requested data on branch usage.

Disappointingly, it has taken Barclays some time to share information with us. Their email says:

“In light of our meeting, we have taken the opportunity to review our decision to close West Norwood branch, however, our decision to close the branch remains.  I understand this isn’t the outcome you, your constituents or the Councillors who attended the meeting were hoping for.  Closing a branch is never an easy decision, but I hope our Post Office arrangement, access to free cash machines locally, alongside the potential for us to install a cash machine in a suitable location, telephony and digital channels, will support customers who are not easily able to travel to our other branches in the area. “

Paul Turpin, Barclays Market Director

We continue to discuss ‘leave behind’ provision for businesses and vulnerable residents who can’t access online banking or travel to branches further afield, and Barclays also say that they will meet any businesses one-to-one to discuss banking needs. If you have a small business and would like to have a meeting with Barclays, please contact councillors@thurlowparklabour.org to organise.

You can see their documents on reasons for closure and responding to our feedback:

Great news on Brockwell Hall!

Brockwell Hall has been a fixture of Brockwell Park since 1813 although in recent decades has remained underused. We are very pleased to announce that a proposal launched in partnership between Lambeth Council and the Brockwell Park Community Partners to renovate the hall has been initially approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

This means that the a programme of work can commence to design both how the hall could be improved and made fully open to the public, as well as looking at how the hall can be used as a venue to host weddings and other events to raise money for the park. The Brockwell Park Partnership Board has reviewed the management structure for this project and it will replicate the management structure for the successful HLF funded projected currently renovating Norwood Cemetery and the programme that repaired the landscape in the park a decade ago. 

The first stage of the work is now up and running and it’s aim is to produce a fully working proposal for the hall along with plans for renovation and rebuilding by the end of 2020. After that stage two of the HLF process will being and if all goes well the hall will reopen refurbished and in it’s new role in 2022. 

As your Councillors in our 2018 manifesto we committed to moving the park away from reliance on large music festivals as a income generation tool. Due to nearly a decade of austerity – in which the parks budget in Lambeth has been forced by successive Tory led governments Westminster to shrink by millions of pounds  – our parks have been struggling for money. Last year a large music festival was held in the park and this year a far smaller version is provisionally set to go ahead. Whilst this will raise money that goes directly into the park this is not sustainable in the long term, even though we have sought to manage music festivals in the park far better than has been done in the past. 

To this end we secured a review of the events policy, which is set to to recommend dropping overly disruptive targets for “event days” in the park as well providing further safeguards on events. We also have been looking at other long term measures to regenerate the park such as the regeneration of the football pitches so they can be used by the community and commercially by five-a-side leagues. 

We have been working closely with Brockwell Park Community Partners on all of these proposals and they have played a major role in realising these projects. The organisations that make the partnership play a vital role in keeping the park open for the 1000s of people from our community that use it every day.  It costs over £8000 a week to keep Brockwell Park running and we are determined to make it immune from the impact of any further budgetary pressure. Community driven projects like these can integrate with the park to provide long term financial stability for Brockwell park.

Cherry Tree Nursery update

A number of residents have been in touch regarding the Great North Wood Educational Trust/ Rosendale School’s decision, announced recently, to close their childcare provision at Cherry Tree in August later this year.

We were not given advance notice of this decision, and on learning of it requested an urgent update from Lambeth officers:

Cherry Tree is a satellite site to Rosendale Children’s Centre and is in addition to the borough’s 23 children’s centres. It has not been designated as a children’s centre since 2015. There is very limited use of the building for children’s centre services, but families have access to family support from a Better Start worker and monthly appointments with Citizens Advice Bureau alongside the wider offer at Rosendale children’s centre. Cherry Tree is primarily used for the delivery of childcare by Rosendale as part of the Great North Wood Educational Trust.

Delivery of childcare and funding for that is separate to any children’s centre provision, and it is the responsibility of the childcare provider to ensure that provision is sustainable. The council does not have a role in funding childcare, although it does administer funding for the two, three and four year old entitlements under a national funding formula.

Rosendale School joined the Great North Wood Educational Trust in 2017, and became part of that multi agency trust. This led to a significant increase in pension costs for support staff, including those employed to work in either Rosendale Children’s Centre or Liz Atkinson Children’s Centres, or in childcare provision at Rosendale or Cherry Tree.

The school has struggled to meet these pension costs, and has worked with Lambeth Council to explore all possible solutions, but is unfortunately no longer able to sustain the additional costs of running a childcare business at Cherry Tree. At the time that consultation on children’s centres commenced both the school and the Council expected that a solution that enabled ongoing delivery of childcare by Rosendale Primary School at the Cherry Tree site would be possible.

Consultation with staff on a proposed closure of the childcare provision began on 5th April.

As part of this process, the school will end their lease agreement with the council for use of the Cherry Tree building, and the council will consider alternative uses for the building in the future, including the possibility of entering into a new lease agreement with a new organisation for the delivery of childcare services or other children’s services.

The report due for consideration by Cabinet on Monday 15th April recommends that children’s centre delivery continues at Rosendale in line with the proposals outlined in the consultation document.

Council officers will meet with parents currently using childcare at Cherry Tree following the Easter break, and will provide information and support to parents who need to make alternative childcare arrangements from September 2019. Rosendale children’s centre staff will also provide support in relation to finding childcare over coming months.

As your local councillors, we will be lobbying to ensure that the delivery of childcare/ children’s services continue from the Cherry Tree site by another provider.