Dear SE23 Residents. We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Plan. More info here:
Please ensure you have your say!
Dear SE23 Residents. We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Plan. More info here:
Please ensure you have your say!
To clarify, this relates to Crofton Park Ward. Not a “neighbourhood” that anyone I know would recognise.
ETA: to clarify, my reference to neighbourhood is the area referred to by this plan. Crofton Park is a neighbourhood I recognise.
Thanks for sharing this, @HopCroftForum, and welcome to the forum.
I see the designated area of your plan covers most (but not all) of Honor Oak. I’m sure many of our members here will be interested to see an update after the launch on Saturday. Hope it goes well, good luck.
Just to let you know, our consultation day for your feedback on the draft neighbourhood plan will be on saturday 26th November at the Rivoli Ballroom from 11am - 3pm. We will kick off with a presentation about the plan, from the planning consultants, followed by a drop in session (11.30-3p,) for people to visit the stalls focusing on the different policy areas to give your feedback. Dont miss out on the opportunity to comment. Whether you live, work or regularly visit any part of the area, your views count. info here: http://croftonhonoroakpark.neighbourhood.space/event/consultation-on-draft-plan/?instance_id=55. many thanks
Hi, a link to the plan itself (or one that works on mobile, as the link in the first message doesn’t seem to have it) would be good as not everyone will be able to attend a meeting and may prefer to comment via email - I know I would. Thanks in advance
PLAN DOCUMENTS ALL HERE:
However, also hoping by end of next week to circulate link to online survey for those who cannot visit in person… till then…
Houses to be built on green space next to Honor Oak Park station? Let @HopCroftForum know what you think of their plan in this survey:
Personally it’s a firm “no thanks” from me.
One Tree Hill and its surrounding green land are beautiful and precious, defining the character of the area and differentiating it from other parts of Lewisham.
I’m also concerned that the opinions of people next to the proposed housing will not be considered due to the somewhat peculiar boundaries of the “HopCroft” area, which seems to exclude a large part of Honor Oak (anything West of the station) from this consultation. Could you comment on this, @HopCroftForum?
Definitely a ‘no’ from me re HOP station but as someone not considered part of HOP despite being really close to the station (wrong side of the tracks) i imagine I’ll not get a say. But my favourite thing about HOP is coming out of the station and seeu g the wonderful view of one tree hill. We’re already at risk of losing some of that view with the proposed cemetery changes but houses there would be awful. Would rather transform that land into a wildlife garden to replace the wildlife ruined by the cemetery. Where can we see the full plan and does this group actually have any sway?
I will try my best to answer some of the questions:
if you live, work, or frequent the area within the boundary and see it as your neighoburhood, your views and thoughts and ideas are all welcome.
If you have approval or objectiions, you are strongly recommended to complete the online survey. https://hopcroftforum.stickyworld.com/room/presentation?roomid=7#page/home or you can download the form and return by email to email@example.com. Its VERY IMPORTANT all views are captured by this consultation in this way, as we need to present the feedback to the planning authority and include into our statement of consultation for examination. the links to the surveys can be found from the home page here: http://croftonhonoroakpark.neighbourhood.space/
Please read the policy very carefully before jumping to conclusions. There are infact two policies relating to this site. One is the allocation (which is more definitive) and one is recognising that we’ve heard rumours its to be developed anyway. and therefore we want to ensure if the authority let it go through, that it reinstates the nature corridor, currently ruined for ‘operational purposes’. The ground is now hardstanding, underpinned by concrete base due to slippage into the tracks. so it can never fully revert back to woodland, for example. There are advantages and disadvantages for having this policy and for removing it.
There are other options to also consider for this that can be added into the plan instead.
in any case, its a complex site, and better discussed in person rather than by this medium, therefore strongly advise as many as possible to come to the final consultation event on the 14th of January to discuss it properly. Details here: http://croftonhonoroakpark.neighbourhood.space/event/last-chance-hopcroft-consultation/?instance_id=57
Finally, this is not the referendum. This is a consultation on the draft. We want to ensure the final version reflects as much feedback as possible. This final version will be formally submitted. There is then a statutory consultation an eventual referendum run by the council for a yes/no vote on the whole plan, and that wont be till end of summer next year and the earliest. So encourage everyone to complete the survey and feed back now so that the final version includes/reflects what we all want for our neighbourhood, irrespective on postcode, street name, virtual, official, administrative, or perceived neighbourhood boundary you think you fall on!
p.s There is also a prize draw for submitting a consultation feedback response…! so please be encouraged to do so. No problem waiting till the 14th of Jan to find out more. We will have hard copies of the form then.
signing out for the hols. Have a lovely Christmas everyone. See you on the 14th.
I had a good look at the area next to the station today, and I imagine any developer would want to put flats there which would completely destroy the sense of space you get when you look that way. My husband totally didn’t get what I was on about but honestly one of my favourite things about the area is that it doesn’t feel completely built up. I would be really sad to see flats there. Also, any access road to there would be in a really awkward place when it comes to getting to the station, I imagine you’d have to move the pedestrian crossing for it to work. And finally, you’d have to have permit parking on that road or else it would be a nightmare for people who lived there.
I’m not able to make the meeting on the 14th but I will fill in the survey.
Ok I’ve just read the section in the plan in more detail, and I’m even more angry about it now! It’s currently a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and yes, Network Rail might have spoiled that, but surely our neighbourhood should be campaigning to RESTORE it to that, not handing it over to developers to make it even less natural. With all of the sections in the plan about access to green space and air quality I’m depressed that this plan automatically assumes housing is the way to go. I hope fellow HOPers will join me in fighting against this.
pLUS if family homes are built here, these families will not be close enough to any of the local schools to get in, apart from Francesca Cabrini which as a Catholic school is not suitable for everyone. So where’s the plan for that?
Actually, that’s a thought, if there is going to be something built here, why not a new school, the ones we have are bursting at the seams.
Could not agree more though in fact it was the responsibility of Southwark Council that the trees were removed from there due to illegal dumping. Network Rail had little choice as the weight of the embankment was crumpling the station platform - in re-profiling the cutting they had to remove the trees. They did make assurances, at the time, that the intention was to let nature return.
I also disagree that we actually need more housing in the area, without looking at whether local services can take extra capacity. The trains are packed, there are no places in the primary schools (unless you are willing to go to a catholic school when you’re not Catholic), the doctors surgeries are heaving, the roads are chocker.
Who gets to vote on the referendum?
Only the people in Crofton Park Ward.
Ridiculous that those of us that will be impacted on new houses here don’t get a vote, we shall have to wait until planning applications are made. I plan to make a big noise about this one.
Can you tell I’m angry? And who are these neighbourhood forum people? On their website it doesn’t have any details of individuals who are coming up with these plans.
Minutes from their AGM in July 2015 name the steering committee:
Chair - Cllr Pauline Morrison
Vice Chair – Ann Dunton
Secretariat – Roger Stoker
Communications – Emily Pemberton / Milly Douglas
Engagement – Esme Yuill
Project manager – Kay Pallaris
Finance co-ordinator - Arif Marali
Planning advisor – Helen Keen
Happy New Year all
Here’s link to the feedback survey.
Please complete and return to crofton park library, or come along and submit on 14th Jan at consultation event and you can find out more then. After all, this is the point of a consultation, to capture both agreements and disagreements. The plan may well change if more people disagree!! All these views are valid and must be documented via the formal consultation survey so the plan can be updated accordingly.
Please also note that many different ideas came from many different residents from across the area and now collated into the draft plan. No one member is solely responsible, so no need for such hostility. Please also remember that over 4500 households with an SE23 postcode do exist in the boundary.
See you on 14th, info about event can be found by this link: http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=7bf852c4c744e857e2b8a76de&id=b2070795ea
Unfortunately those most affected by the loss of green space around their houses will be denied a final say in these plans (at the referendum stage) due to the way the HopCroft plan has been crafted. I fully understand their anger.
So it is up to the rest of us in SE23 who fall within the arbitrary HopCroft zone to speak on their behalf. I’m out of the country so cannot attend on the 14th but I hope many Honor Oak residents will do so to ensure the precious remaining green space in our corner of London is not concreted over.
And we should stop talking about development as if it’s an inevitability. As @fran points out, the effect on school places, hospital beds and transport infrastructure is crippling. These services are not scaling linearly and immediately with London’s population growth. Building more houses is something that needs to be weighed carefully against the side effects.
I must admit the hostility of this forum is a little unpleasant. No one is being denied a say. Those living outside but feel a strong connection to the area are being invited to complete survey. How many different ways does one need to spell this out?
The only technicality is about the referendum vote since that is a government rule, you have to be inside. But residents in the forum area are warmly and openly inviting everyone to have a say and encourage all to respond to the survey by completing the survey form. The outcome from consultation will determine how the doc is changed/updated for referendum and will consider the majority of agreements or disagreements including any suggested policy rewording.
Our online version is experiencing some technical issues at the mo but hope will be resolved. In any case I have shared the pdf
Those living outside can also be associate forum members. We infact have a few already who have contributed ideas that are in the plan. To continue to say that it’s ignoring those outside is false. So instead of all trying to play unnecessary turf wars how about uniting to create a great plan?
It’s still a draft and with everyone’s CONSTRUCTIVE feedback we hope it will be contributing to a future, liveable and thriving neighbourhood.
Thanks lots. Please therefore correct your entry to not discourage those outside boundary from responding. I hope everyone instead puts their energy into responding formerly.
Firstly I’m sorry you’ve felt a hostile reception here. This is a very positive forum on the whole. I don’t think there’s any criticism directed at individuals on this topic - but there is towards ideas / proposals, and I’m sure you can understand why people may feel upset if it’s the first they’ve heard of HopCroft, and a plan that will affect them.
Regarding the people around the area of the proposed housing, has there been a poster or leaflet campaign informing them of their last chance to have a say in the plans? (the survey). The people most affected may not be aware of the HopCroft forum since this seems to focus on the Crofton Park ward, and be run by people from Crofton Park. And also there appear to be some technical issues with the website - not just downtime but also the usability, especially on mobile devices.
I have altered my wording to: “those most affected by the loss of green space around their houses will be denied a final say in these plans (at the referendum stage) due to the way the HopCroft plan has been crafted.”
And again, I implore all members to get involved in the consultation. It’s some comfort that those near the proposed housing will at least get some input at this stage.
As Chris says, my anger is directed at proposals that will have a fundamental impact on my local area, on our green space, on our traffic, our parking, our ability to get school places, our ability to get on a train in the morning, to get an appointment at the doctors. Not at individuals. I asked the question about who you all are because it’s very opaque on your website and I didn’t do as Michael did and search through old minutes to find names. I didn’t understand whether this was a political body and for all I know you could be a bunch of property developers trying to make money!
If you are asking for feedback, which I am giving, you have to be prepared for this to be negative without taking it personally. And I have given alternative suggestions such as returning it to green space, or, if it must be developed, creating a school to allow our local children to go to a local school. But yes, I am hostile to the idea of building housing on an area that could be used for so many things, and I am hostile at this being put forward by a community group of which I can only be considered an ‘associate’ member so wouldn’t get a vote in an AGM or a referendum despite living right near something that would hugely Impact my life, much more than other people who do get a vote.
And finally, to reiterate Chris’s point, how are you informing those of us who live right by this proposed development about the plan and the consultation and the event? Are you relying on people looking at your website? Or here? I don’t think anyone on my street will have heard of the ‘HopCroft’ forum. I shall be informing my neighbours but would like to understand your broader plans.
There is a big difference between being allowed to fill in a non-binding survey, and having a vote in a binding referendum. See Southwark Council’s complete dismissal of responses to the survey on One Tree Hill and the cemetery as a case in point.
Will you be extending the deadline for submissions once you have sorted out the online version? I can’t imagine everyone has access to a scanner to email the PDF back, or is able to get to the library or to the event to hand it back in in person?
WRT the boundaries of the ‘neighbourhood’, if I recall correctly the guidance in unparished areas like Lewisham is to follow ward boundaries, as these have already been established in legislation as areas which reflect community identity (albeit for a different purpose). To follow different boundaries would require supplying a lot of additional evidence and may make relations more difficult with the council, which very much thinks in ward boundary terms on planning matters. But I do think this ward is a little less coherent than some Lewisham wards in terms of its ‘identity’ so it’s interesting (but not necessarily bad) that they have established a forum.
As to the housing allocation proposals - I won’t comment on the specific proposal for HOP but I would point out that this plan is required to be in conformity with the Lewisham local plan which in turn must be in conformity with the London Plan. The latter sets highly ambitious housing targets for every single borough in London and therefore any vacant land that could possibly be developed for housing and has no obvious constraints is going to be looked at. This particularly applies to sites which are close to transport connections. As to whether we need more housing - the population of this area is likely to continue increasing so either we have more housing or we have a mixture of higher occupancy per dwelling (ie more people to add pressure to amenities, parking etc regardless) and higher prices/rents. Regardless of whether you accept this or not, “we don’t need more housing” is definitely not going to be accepted as an argument against an allocation of this site. This is a matter of fact in planning terms rather than my opinion.
Hope this is useful.
Thanks for sharing. As I understand it, this land is owned by Southwark Council not Lewisham. And, following the cemetery consultation, it is clear they are not that bothered about preserving green space in an area where no Southwark residents live directly. Therefore, that is why I think it is paramount that a community group that is intending to represent the actual community, is more thoughtful about what is ideal for land like this to be used for. Building houses here will not reduce the amount of houses that need to be built in Lewisham, whilst directly impacting Lewisham residents.
I’d be interested to know what the targets for Lewisham are, all the redevelopment in Lewisham centre must go a long way towards that surely.
Yes, Lewisham TC it’s in what’s called an Opportunity Area (along with Catford and New Cross centres) which is deemed suitable for particularly large scale development. There is supposed to be capacity for a total of 8k new homes across these centres.
The total target for Lewisham is 13,847 from 2015-25 or 1,350 additional new homes a year. I’m not sure what recent completions have been like in Lewisham but overall delivery figures in recent years have been less than half the assessed need across Greater London (roughly 20,000 vs a minimum of 49,000). There has been a particular focus on releasing publicly owned land for development in recent years (as it is in theory easier to develop) so this might be why this NR site has come up.
I find it a bit unpleasant too, but you shouldn’t be surprised, and you shouldn’t take it personally. I think the idea of local Neighbourhood plans is misguided, and as someone who has been a community rep on the Local Assembly for Perry Vale ward for many years, I can say that, had someone suggested it for us, I would have opposed the idea strenuously. @Brett has made the point that our wards aren’t exactly natural areas with which people identify, in the way that parishes out in the countryside might be, and he is right. OTOH, I don’t think any such small area in a large city such as London works for drawing up development plans, which is the point I made earlier today on another thread
linking to something I wrote back in 2011
I’m really surprised that people are taking my posts personally and I apologise if people have, perhaps I have a thicker skin than most also probably should have put a smiley face after ‘can you tell I’m angry?’ As it was meant a little tongue in cheek. But it is frustrating that the only way I even heard about this proposal was through this forum despite being really close to the impacted site. I accept my passions are running high on this, but surely @HopCroftForum should expect that when putting proposals in place that impact people’s real neighbourhoods, not just arbitrary boundaries. And I hope this doesn’t distract from my points which are well intended and my concerns which I think are valid.
Personally I don’t ever feel any hostility on this forum, just truths & opinions.
On the topic of expressing opinions on this subject it’s quite hard to express as the website etc makes it difficult for Joe Bloggs to have an opinion.
That would mean putting me out of the equation as I’m not fab on IT!
Do you have a list of who has responded and numbers @HopCroftForum After the muck up with your website this might be helpful.
Thank you @HopCroftForum. my neighbours and I (on the wrong side of the tracks) recieved a leaflet about the consultation today. a lot of the neighbours are finding it quite complicated to fill in the entire form or don’t have access to scanners, although I have offered to bring them with me to the meeting next week. However, they have asked if its possible to just email you with comments (without filling in the whole form) and if those comments will be taken into consideration. As the online survey isn’t working it would be helpful if that could be an alternative. Otherwise, will the consultation period be extended to allow people more time to read the extensive documents and fill in the long consultation form. Thanks!
Hello Fran, offering many different ways to feed back, please use whatever is easiest:
To send back completed forms:
If anyone needs a large print version, happy to Post or email one. Email your address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re communication of neighbourhood issues and future updates:
Please subscribe to our newsletter and you will hear about future updates and meetings: http://croftonhonoroakpark.neighbourhood.space/subscribe/
Become a Forum member if you have time to spare to help with any aspect of its delivery (including helping us spread the word! We are all volunteering time, and only so much area/time we can cover: http://croftonhonoroakpark.neighbourhood.space/membership-form/
I hope this gives a few options that work. If there are still issues, please email email@example.com, happy to consider any other option.
I have just emailed this to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel the same way as I do, please try and find some time to put forward your objections.
"Please note the following in respect of your support for the development of land adjacent to Honor Oak Park station:
_I moved to this area several years ago and one of the things that greatly appeals to me is the amount of green space that can be seen and enjoyed each time you arrive at Honor Oak Park station. I have spent a large amount of time with my young daughter in the nearby area which I have found to be a lovely quiet space away from the traffic. _
_In my opinion, this will be ruined by a development of what will no doubt become blocks of modern flats overlooking the station and permanently breaking up the view. Please can you consider the impact on traffic, already at breaking point in this area, the impact on biodiversity by turning the current set-aside green space into a building site and car park for residents (all of which appear to go against a swathe of your proposed policies). _
_I am deeply concerned and find it rather disturbing that a small community group such as yourselves are supporting a development of this kind which will directly impact many hundreds of local residents. it appears to be an incredibly short sighted decision reached by individuals who presumably have never considered how fortunate we are to have one of South London’s rare undeveloped green hillsides in our local area. _
I strongly urge you to reconsider your support of any development in this area.
Updated this post when I read on in the document…
The community assets list is interesting - I can’t work out whether the list in section 4.6 is a list of existing registered assets or not. It seems like an odd mix.
I’d also add the St Germans Road scout hut as another one.
As far as I’m aware there is only one registered Asset of Community Value in Crofton Park ward, that is the Honor Oak Pub. Adding a number of additional assets to the register is a good idea.
That whole section seems a bit muddled - I can’t work out whether they want to apply for ACV status for everything in s4.6 or Fig 4 (or both) and given that some of the items in Fig 4 are just views rather than actual buildings or land, I don’t think they could have ACV status.
Protecting views is a challenge - for example, given that Blythe Hill Fields overlooks a lot of Canary Wharf and the City, that’s always going to change.
Am I misreading the document somehow?
Yes, the Honor Oak was listed by the Forest Hill Society (as you know!). They do also include the Blythe Hill Tavern - this was listed by CAMRA. Quite right too but just outside the ward boundary I believe so that would seem to be a mistake. All the others are aspirational.
Spot on @Jerry. The plan does aim to protect the view of One Tree Hill so that, along with a number of other statements, does seem to contradict the development allocation. I think it is also important to protect the view from the hill too but that is not considered. One Tree Hill is no longer part of Honor Oak it seems.
If you attend today’s final consultation (11:00-15:30, Ewart Road Clubhouse, 44 Wastdale Rd), please reply here to let us know how it went. Cheers!
I attended the meeting, were probably around 40 people there in total. Lots of thoughts about it and what they shared, will write a longer post later.
Thank Fran x
I attended the consultation, which was very helpful, if a little difficult due to all the questions in the middle of the presentation.
I was pleased to see the the plan includes upgrading Honor Oak Park to a Local Centre / Neighbourhood Centre, rather than just a parade. Unfortunately the designation only include the businesses on Honor Oak Park, not those on Brockley Rise. The team also said that it would require a change to the Lewisham plan before this designation could be made (something that they have rejected in the past when I have requested it).
Both of the sites allocated for development proved to be controversial, with local residents opposing both, and few people with anything positive to say about them (other than a general need for housing - which the 20 apartments would hardly address). The team made it clear that if there was a majority of responses against these site allocations, then they would be removed from the next version of the document - and given the reaction I saw, I would be surprised if these allocations survive, even with all the caveats applied in the policies. There was a suggestion of a site allocation for the MOT garage on Brockley Rise/Stondon Park, but after the meeting I remembered that this is already in Lewisham’s core strategy, so it wouldn’t make much difference.
It should be said that site allocations for housing is the hardest part of any neighbourhood plan and are always likely to be controversial, especially in a built up area with existing gaps in the primary school coverage. However, neighbourhood plans were always designed primarily to allocate sites for development, and benefit from community funding from these developments.
If sites for housing were really wanted, then around the outside of King’s College Playing Fields would seem most appropriate. And in designating a few other areas Urban Green Spaces, the loss of green space could be off-set. I reckon there would easily be enough space for a block of flats on Stillness Road, Otford Crescent, and Brockley Rise. Of course I can understand why this would be opposed by local residents and they may have already been considered and rejected by the forum steering committee.
One other piece of feedback that I felt was particularly sensible was to include Stanstead Road in the map of the Brockley Rise / Stanstead Road Local Improvement Area. In the draft, that area stops at the Stanstead Road junction, when it could extend up to the Malham Road Regeneration area.
Beyond these items the Neighbourhood Plan is not particularly controversial and includes a number of positive developments. Perhaps it isn’t ambitious enough, but that’s no really a bad thing.
My final observation would be that if this forum (SE23.life) was seen as hostile and ‘a little unpleasant’, then the meeting on Saturday went way beyond the criticisms I’ve read above, with a number of individuals concerned about the housing site allocations, the perceived lack of consideration about parking, and the boundaries of the area. I found the reaction of the room far more hostile than I have seen on this forum, and slightly more hostile than I had expected.
Agreed, it is a shame that this doesn’t include Brockley Rise but then it doesn’t include all Honor Oak Park businesses either, i.e. east of Stondon Park. As this is not something that can be shaped by the plan, it is an element that actually doesn’t require Neighbourhood Planning to achieve.
Agreed also with the comments re the housing sites. Am left wondering whether these were included to provoke a reaction. Certainly, the constitution of the area is provocative, from an Honor Oak resident point of view. @Michael, it may aid your understanding of this that the area consultation process was deeply flawed and people outside the Ward area were mostly ignored, in fact silenced when attending a ward assembly when this agenda item was discussed. Your suggestion of the Brockley Rise MOT garage for housing was interesting but, as you say, if this is already allowed for then this is another area where the plan would not actually contribute anything.
I somewhat agree, re the presentation and interruptions but I do not see how the consultation aspect could have covered the range of material otherwise - the presenters did not seem to have a problem with this and acted professionally I thought. There were people present who only knew about this due to a leaflet through the door. This gave the impression that this was a last chance to have a say, which wasn’t strictly accurate. Nevertheless, it did make for a lively meeting, but being on the “wrong” side of the tracks, I completely get that. Another, probably just thoughtless, aspect was that the first question on the survey form handed out led to a tick of the “regular vistor” option - not a welcome start if an Honor Oak resident!
There were some positive elements, including improvements for Crofton Park station, but am struggling to see the benefits for Honor Oak as a community which could not be achieved by other means. Will post up some detailed feedback shortly.
Apologies for the delay in responding, although I doubt you were all waiting for my thoughts
I attended the session on Saturday although I was not able to stay for the full session and did not have an opportunity to ask all the questions that I wanted to.
It was a very welcoming meeting though (there were cakes) and I give the forum full credit for trying to engage the local community, although some other comments on that below. I also got a clear feeling that this was really being driven by a desire to do good in the local community, and there was a real challenge for the team in terms of balancing lots of competing views. Not an easy task I am sure. That said, my views on this being an ‘arbitrary boundary’ rather than a real reflection of our actual neighbourhoods still stands.
As Michael mentioned, the formal presentation was derailed a little by questions about housing allocations that came up, predictably, as soon as the ‘housing policy’ section was mentioned. People obviously felt very passionately about both of the designated sites, and it was clear that many of those attending had only heard about the whole ‘plan’ through a note from a local resident specifically about the SE4 proposals on housing that was delivered to those in the local area. I think this shows that the forum probably needs to work a little harder in terms of making sure local people are aware of and understand the plan. As someone at the meeting commented, the plan itself and the questionnaire are very lengthy and not necessarily the easiest to digest and so it would be good to see how the forum could make it a little more accessible for people going forward. I suggest perhaps they could use this forum or their own website to host some Q&A sessions about specific topics, although that doesn’t necessarily address those who are not ‘internet savvy’. To try to get the presentation back on track, the forum representatives reiterated that the best way to provide feedback was to fill in the survey, but that does not allow for discussion and dialogue and many of the items are open to interpretation so it’s hard to know if I’m commenting on the right things.
Overall, I had hoped to get more of a sense of what new powers this plan really will have vs what is already in place or what is just a ‘wish list’ vs something that is achievable. I’d also like to get a greater sense of where funding for some of these things comms from such as tree planning and cycle routes, does it get diverted from other areas in Lewisham? Is there additional funding? These may have been answered later on after I left, so Brett or Michael may be able to answer or else I’ll just email them to find out.
The big debate that swelled up in the middle of the formal presentation was around the housing allocation, and I’ve made my views on the HOP designation clear already so I don’t need to reiterate that. However, I am not sure I understood the forum’s point of view on this that clearly and @Brett, @Michael or hopefully @HopCroftForum may be able to clarify. The representatives of the Forum stated that by including these sites in the plan was not saying they were in favour of developing these sites, but more that if these sites WERE developed this plan would then help shape what those developments looked like. If the overall plan is saying that ALL development in the designated areas should be held to these overall standards, then I can’t see the benefit of putting in these specific sites UNLESS you are advocating they SHOULD be developed on. There was also a vague indication that the forum members knew that Network Rail was going to apply for planning permission, so it was important that the forum tackled that by being prescriptive over what development would be allowed. I felt like there were some mixed messages there but I may have just been confused as there were a lot of people sharing views. That said, either way I believe that there is a real conflict between the plan’s views on the importance of green space and air quality, and supporting in some way development on greenfield sites, vs brownfield sites.
As Michael mentions, an attendee raised the issue of needing additional affordable housing and accused those against these developments as being newcomers ‘raising the draw bridge after them’. I take issue with that because a) most of my neighbours have lived in the area for 20 years plus and b) i truly can’t see how these developments will address the housing shortage/ridiculous cost of housing in the area. The types of housing that the plan deems as suitable do not come cheap, and the planning consultant herself acknowledged that developers are able to get out of the ‘affordable housing’ requirements pretty easily. If you look at the new developments in Lewisham, 2 bed flats go for £550k so I can’t see that developers would be looking for any less than that in HOP. So whereas it would be lovely to think these flats would go to struggling local people, the reality is they will probably be snapped up by buy-to-letters.
However, with a view to not being ‘hostile’ and being proactive rather than reactive. when it comes to the land re HOP station, I’ve decided that rather than saying ‘I don’t want housing here’ I want to come with an alternate solution about how we can best use the green space there. If anyone is interested, I’ll set up an alternative thread for discussion and perhaps a meet in person. The forum members all seemed very open to views and opinions (although I am not sure they are wholly representative of the demographics of the Ward, just as this site isn’t) and so I want to engage positively and with ideas and suggestions going forward.
As far as I understand no ‘additional’ funding is available for neighbourhood plan proposals. However…25% of Community Infrastructure Levy monies raised from development within an area with an approved neighbourhood plan are passed to the Parish Council / local authority (where a parish council does not exist). These bodies will then engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding.
I feel the same way.
One of the presenters had a tip off that a developer was interested in the site by the station. Rather than allocate the site for a green use, the response to this has been to request that Network Rail allow a biodiversity survey to establish whether a housing application might succeed by challenging the SINC status (site of importance for nature conservation). I think this runs the risk of courting further developer interest by including in the plan in this way and I agree it sends mixed messages, arguably helps a developer application in fact. If enough people respond to the plan or survey then hopefully this will get dropped.
I agree with the approach of finding a better use for the site. I have been in touch with Network Rail myself about this to find out what might be possible and what their plans are. When I know more will advise.
I am also interested what Lewisham Council’s view on developing the HOP site is - as it was referenced that the forum’s views were different from the Council’s.
[As an aside, I’ve just been told I have posted more than 32% of the replies here so I’ll pipe down for a while to allow others to share their views].
I’m not sure this statement is strictly correct… my reading of the policy is that if an application were to come forward the neighbourhood plan would require a full biodiversity survey to demonstrate that the nature conservation value of the site has been lost. I’m not sure that the policy advocates that Network Rail should now carry out a survey to demonstrate there is no nature conservation value. As the landowners it is likely that should Network Rail decide to dispose of the site they would look to challenge the SINC status to ensure that the maximum value of the land was released.
In a situation in which the SINC status was successfully challenged and a residential planning application bought forwards, the planning application would be determined in line with the Lewisham Local Plan. As this is not a site allocation within the plan presumably it would be determined in line with their generic policies on residential development. However, if the neighbourhood plan were to be adopted then the planning application would have to satisfy policy within both Lewisham’s Core Strategy and the Hopcroft Neighbourhood Plan. Is it therefore not best that this site is included within the plan to ensure that the local community have the maximum say in terms of how that development is taken forward?
My take is that this policy is a ‘worst-case’ safety net in the scenario that the site’s SINC status is lost. If it retains its SINC status then it is protected from development in any case.
My understanding from the meeting was that the forum plan was not in agreement with the council plan which would have a presumption of protecting a SINC site. If the plan really wanted to protect it then they could make a ‘green’ allocation rather than for housing and this would then have the added weight of complying with the environmental policies in the plan as well as reinforcing the council core strategy. It isn’t super-clear though is it? I think we need @HopCroftForum guidance here.
Yes would be interesting to know whether it would even be possible to allocate it as ‘green space’- might be tricky given its private land and not currently accessible to the public. I would imagine there is some sort of test any proposed allocation would have to pass.
Ok so I think that is what they were trying to say in the meeting, but that wasn’t clear to me, and if it’s in the plan then I think it needs to be clearer.
Please don’t, I’m listening to your views
Haven’t had time to read all these views but will make a point of doing so tomorrow
Don’t be discouraged from posting here @Fran - your input has been well received as shown by the likes. I will raise this with the developers of the forum software - the warning serves a purpose, but not in cases where the posts are good like yours.
Update: I have raised this issue with the developers and suggested the number of likes are taken into account - which would have avoided @fran getting the automated message.
Someone who attended the meeting on the 14th was keen to draw up alternatives for greening, and I think above someone mentioned setting up a meeting too. Its important to explore so lets set this up! Please email to arrange a suitable meeting time/date.
Without wanting to offend anyone, this exact mentality is what constitutes a NIMBY and has brought us into exact the position that the London housing market is in at the moment.
The so called “green field” site is an unused overgrown plot sitting there unused at the moment without any benefit whatsoever to the local public.
If one wanted to object to change in use of land, they should have objected to designating more land to the cemetery, but maybe we care more these days about the dead than the living.
London needs more homes, everywhere, and many more of them, period. That this requires in turn to provide better services such as schools, health care, transport etc and politics greatly fail on this, granted. However objecting to every new proposal for housing development won’t make the current problems go away either.
Unfortunately, I’ve missed out on this meeting. It would have been interesting to join the debate. I’m all for discussion about shaping what development should look like, but objecting on some spurious grounds which I can only regard as selfishness really shouldn’t be the way forward.
There is nothing NIMBY about this. From a personal perspective I can say that we do have new housing in our back yard already.
Many locals have serious concerns about the cemetery plans by Southwark also and have been vocal about it. The land you refer to used to be tree lined and Network Rail said that they would allow nature to return back in 2010. I agree that other green uses could be found but there are a number of problems with housing on this site. Please see here for the Friends of Honor Oak response to this:
The lovely outlook from the station to One Tree Hill is one of the main factors that attracted me to Honor Oak Park when I bought my house here.
There are so few areas of London that have this kind of attractive scenery. It would be a travesty to lose it. If the council and local community plans do not protect it adequately, then it is our responsibility to step up.
[edited to remove political-ish comment]
It would have to follow the NPPF guidelines for designating local green space, which are:
"the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it
"the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and
holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty,
historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field),
tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and
“the green area concerned is local in character and is not an
extensive tract of land”
I guess it passes 1 and 3 without much argument but 2 would be the difficult one, bearing in mind the NPPF also says the designation would not be appropriate for most open spaces. I have my doubts as to whether it would pass examination, especially if it were deemed simply to be a mechanism to block development rather than because it is worthy of protection per se (bearing in mind that local green space designations are supposed to be “consistent with local planning of sustainable development”)
I tend to think that if the site lost its SINC designation it would be very hard to turn down a residential planning application. Indeed it would probably end up being allocated in a future Lewisham site allocations plan review, because planners look very fondly on sites with the potential for high density residential and adjacent to public transport.
This topic is a delicate one to moderate as it is about policy and by extension local politics. There has, however, been a little bit of a drift in some recent comments to more general political discussion which I think should be resisted as it risks derailing the extremely important discussion. I realise this is a fine distinction, so I’m not calling anyone out. As ever, I’m more than happy to discuss any moderating issues via DM.
If talking in nature conservation terms, then there should be no danger of this site losing its SINC status. It is part of a natural green corridor and is part of the larger space that is Honor Oak Park, includes One Tree Hill and its nature reserve.
From a planning perspective, agree it is less clear cut, but Lewisham policy assumes that SINC sites should be protected and the railway cutting has borough wide significance. This makes it surprising to me that a proposed local plan would seek to undermine this by challenging the SINC status and contradicting its own environmental policy.
Can we please not escalate this? I’ve already given a polite warning where needed.
Where does the neighbourhood plan advocate challenging the SINC status? Policy SA2 states what development should be permitted in the instance that the site is no longer designated as a SINC. Policy GS4 already specifies that development of Local Sites of Conservation Interest (which includes SINC sites) will not be permitted - so the site in it’s current form is protected.
I think it’s proactive in the sense that it acknowledges the site may come forward for development over the Plan period should the SINC status be challenged successfully by Network Rail - the reasons for why they think the SINC status might be challenged successfully are outlined in the policy justification.
The policy therefore seeks to specify what type of development would be considered acceptable. I.e. it states that “Development proposals will be required to maintain a green corridor alongside the railway to maintain the integrity of the remainder of the Site of Nature Conservation Interest” as well as setting out the requirement for high design standards and exemplary environmental standards of the buildings.
Obviously the ideal solution would be that the site is designated as ‘local green space’ but as @simonk133 pointed out above it’s less clear whether it could be designated as such. Perhaps this is something for @HopCroftForum to receive further guidance on prior to the final plan.
They advocate allocating the site for housing. They have also requested permission from Network Rail for a biodiversity survey.
Updated 31st Jan: Reminder to all in SE23: if you have concerns about the HopCroft plan, which includes proposed housing on green space next to Honor Oak Park station, you have until the 1st Feb to help change the draft plan before it becomes final, and goes to the referendum stage.
After tomorrow, only people living east of HOP station will be able to vote in the binding referendum, due to the arbitrary boundaries of the “HopCroft” area. So have your say today.
31st Jan. 1st Feb (extended after some technical issues earlier today)
My mail, sent today:
Just reading the interview with HopCroft Plan writers in this month’s SE23 Magazine.
Yes - these are the words of the people planning to destroy our view of hilly green spaces when we arrive at Honor Oak Park station. Incredible.
Sadly SE23 magazine is a commercial vehicle for puff pieces and they failed to do any critical reporting here.
Quite. The deadline for responses is today.
Maybe we’ll replace the green space currently beside HOP station with some street art depicting a green space and get (what might be called) the best of both worlds?
It looks like you can start the survey even though it does say it is closed. Have you tested whether it can be submitted?
I got this:
Oh yes, sorry @anon5422159 you are quite right. That button was not visible to me until I scrolled on the first page. It really is closed. @HopCroftForum please re-open and extend this deadline.
“There Are Already Residents Living Here…” Locals speak out about site development.
Given the lack of response here from @HopCroftForum on the day of their deadline, it might be time to explore the options we have for legal scrutiny over community groups under the Localism Act.
Are there legal safeguards to ensure consultations and referenda are carried out properly, and reach everyone affected by the plan?
If the consultations and referenda are shown to be flawed, can the community plan be overturned as a result?
From the “plain English” guide to the Localism Act (page 12):
Given money is involved, would the organisers of consultations / plans / referenda be legally liable for mis-spending public money given to them under the Localism Act?
Darn it I haven’t done the questionnaire in time! I’ve only heard about the Plan through this Forum and I live just out of the boundary line by a few metres. I don’t remember getting anything posted to me about it. Just because my house isn’t in the red-lined area doesn’t mean I won’t be affected by this.
The plan can certainly be rejected by the planning inspector at examination stage for inadequate consultation. The relevant guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/neighbourhood-planning--2
(see “consulting on, and publicising, a neighbourhood plan or Order” about halfway down, then “the independent examination” a little later)
To clarify, this is the last opportunity to have a say on the draft plan. There will be a revision and a formal consultation before the final plan is produced.
Have just heard from @HopCroftForum: they are looking into problem and plan to extend deadline to midnight tomorrow (1st Feb)
ETA: it is now open and deadline extended https://hopcroftforum.stickyworld.com/room/presentation?roomid=7#work/165
Thanks for clarifying @Brett, and for the information, @simonk133 . Did anyone find that the “Save” button does nothing after completing the survey?
Yes, found exactly that so am not really sure whether the survey answers have been submitted or not.
Am afraid that the survey platform did not endear me to it: was only able to complete through use of multiple monitors (lucky me) as the text to comment on was not zoomable to an extent where you could actually read it so had to have a copy of the plans and background documents on another screen. The text boxes were tiny and any typing had to be done at a snail’s pace or the results got garbled. Ended up typing answers in another app and copy and pasting or else I would have missed the midnight deadline. All in all did make me feel that this would be very unfriendly to the point of off-putting to someone less techie than me. Am already in hot water for delaying dinner!
One particular section, GS1 Protection of green spaces, is crucial I think. This is what I submitted:
The elephant in the room here is the Honor Oak green space that is its park, cemeteries, railway cuttings, nature reserves and One Tree Hill. Any plan that purports to protect neighbourhood green infrastructure that does not include these is not reflective of the Honor Oak neighbourhood, does not recognise its special character nor respect the people who live there.
For those interested in learning more about Neighbourhood Planning, there’s a free conference in Westminster on March 8th:
The conference will include:
- the launch of our new report on the way London’s Local Plans address neighbourhood planning
- updates from neighbourhood forums across London
- a review of whether the community infrastructure levy is living up to its promise
- debate over whether neighbourhood planning is pushing the boundaries enough
- the role of Neighbourhood Planners.
Can confirm that the responses were saved and have fed back comments on how the interface can be improved for future surveys. Thank you to all of those who took the time to complete the survey. We will be in touch over the coming weeks with the outcome and report back how revisions will be made as a result.