Planning Update April 2021

As mentioned previously, the Herne Hill Society is a statutory consultee on planning applications. The Society seeks the support of the Forum where appropriate, in contentious issues and where it is felt the opinion of both organisations might help influence decision makers.

Bengeworth Road

Those who live near Loughborough Junction will be aware of a controversial scheme submitted by National Grid to build new facilities on the Bengeworth Road site, off Herne Hill Road and next to Kings College Hospital car park. The proposals include boring large new tunnels from Coldharbour lane into the site and building new facilities on the site. As it is ‘operational’ land, the applicants felt this was ‘permitted development’ ; that is, no planning permission is needed and there is no public consultation. However, to ensure the environmental effects are acceptable, they had to ask Lambeth for a ‘screening ‘opinion. This was carried out by a well-known firm of consultants, Atkins, who concluded that there were no adverse environmental effects and the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment, which would look at the full impact independently was not required.

The applicants carried out limited consultation at first and local residents were very concerned about the additional traffic, noise and air pollution, and the effect of new buildings on houses in Southwell Road and Ruskin Park. A number of consultation meetings were held using Zoom and although the application was strictly speaking not open to consultation, the Council allowed comments to be posted on its website.

The Herne Hill Society investigated and established with the aid of external planning advice that not only had the applicants used the wrong section of legislation against which to assess the proposal, but the council had repeated word for word in its screening report the consultants’ views that there would be no adverse environmental impacts. After several unanswered emails to the Council, but after helpful liaison with Helen Hayes MP, the applicants, in the light of concern expressed by local residents, have withdrawn the application to enable further discussion with the Council.

Cressingham Gardens

Lambeth council has recently given permission for the demolition of a small part of the estate which borders Brockwell Park and Tulse Hill. Known as Ropers Walk, the proposals attracted a large number of objections, including from the 20th Century Society and SAVE England’s Heritage.  The estate as a whole has been widely recognised as a sensitively designed mid century development and local residents have been fighting redevelopment plans for many years. Concern has been raised that piecemeal demolition and redevelopment will lead to more of the same over the next few years.

Shakespeare Wharf

There has been no decision on the proposals for new flats on the site of the current waste transfer site as it is linked with a proposal to relocate the use to a site in West Norwood. This site, in Windsor Grove, is to be subject of more consultation as the applicants have submitted more information.

76 Ruskin Drive

This site is currently occupied by two garages and a proposal to build a new family house on the site has been rejected by Southwark on the rounds of inappropriate design and poor site layout.

18 Dorchester Drive

A proposal to demolish the existing house and replace it with a contemporary design has been approved by Lambeth. The Herne Hill Society objected, not because it opposes modern design in principle but it was felt that this scheme was in inappropriate and paid little respect to its surroundings.

The Quadrangle

These charming mock Tudor buildings on Herne Hill opposite the parade of shops known as Carlton Parade, were built between 1911 and 1926, originally for single women over 35, and  have recently been listed grade 2.

Brockwell Park Conservation Area proposed extension

Lambeth has recently consulted on a proposal to extend this conservation area to include properties in Dulwich Road and Station Square. If approved, this would introduce additional planning controls and protection of trees. protection against demolition and encore a higher quality of nay new buildings.

Ruskin Park

Lambeth has consulted local residents and organisations on proposals to allow events to take place over the summer in the park. There are many concerns about the noise, crowding, litter and rowdiness.

Permitted development

The Forum and the Society jointly objected to government proposals to relax the permitted development (p.d.) rules, which would allow the change of use of shops and businesses to premises to residential without the need for planning permission. The intention is to speed up the provision of housing, but there were objections from many professional bodies and civic societies, primarily on the grounds they could undermine the proper planning in a post COVID world of town centres. The proposals have now been approved but with a range of criteria to be met and certain aspects subject to prior approval from the local authority, such as size of dwelling, availability of natural light etc.