Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Objection letter against the proposed building plans.

Here is a standard objection letter that you can sign and send to the London Borough of Lewisham. You are also welcome to use parts of this letter and add your own comments against the plans.

Connor Corrigan
Lewisham Planning Service
Laurence House
1 Catford Road

Dear Mr Corrigan,

Planning Application No. DC/09/71953
15 to 17A Tyson Road and land behind 39 and 53 Honor Oak Road

I object to this planning application for the following reasons:

-The new planning application is very similar to the last one with only a few minor adjustments. This slightly revised planning application reflects as such a disregard for the fundamental problems underlying the former planning application that was unanimously rejected.

• Excessive density – the proposal will result in over development of the site.

• There too many buildings and they are too large – the design and scale of the development is not compatible with the surrounding environment.

• The layout is cramped and there is no access for emergency vehicles to one of the buildings.

• The development will result in the loss of too many trees and too much wildlife.

• The loss of open space.

• The impact on the local infrastructure including roads and schools

• The increased risk of flooding due to the loss of naturally draining land and trees.

Signature (Print and Sign)



Monday, 24 August 2009

'New' 'slightly revised' planning application for Tyson Road, Summer of 2009

Pictures above: If the developer gets his will, all this will be gone....For the sake of 'luxury' flats.

Loromah Estate submitted a new, slightly revised planning application in July that was publicly announced this August. The application which represents Loromah Estates fourth attempt to build in this area, has been quickly rushed through considering the fact that their previous application was unanimously rejected on all accounts by the councillors the 31st of March this year.

In the latest application, the developer has cut the number of flats from 74 to 71 flats. They have also made space for a "second" option that "could" take the size down to a minimum of 67 flats.

There are still a whopping 9 blocks of flats though and even if they have preserved a few more trees in the latest application, their aim is still targeted towards knocking down at least 70 mature trees.

Block number 1 has even been increased in height (In option 1) with as much as 2.8 meters taking it to over 12 meters in total which would completely remove all light and view for the inhabitants in 53 Honor Oak Road.

As a summary, one can conclude that the developer has done 'as little as possible' to confront the fundamental problems underlying their previous planning proposal.

We recommend that as many as possible submit individual objections to Lewisham and object on the same grounds as the former application.

We have very little time as the letters should be in before the Council makes their decision the 2nd of September.

Forest Hill Society has already submitted their objection and there are rumors that as many as 300 people has signed individual objection letters already. This is amazing considering the short public notice and the fact that the application was submitted during the summer holiday.

Remember, we can't have too many objections against the proposal to turn Forest Hill into Concrete Hill. So keep objecting!

Tyson Road Stag Beetle Sightings for the Great Stag Beetle Hunt 2006-2008 plus some recent sightings.

Picture above: Male stag beetle spotted in Fairlie Gardens, the summer of 2006.

June (Male)
September (larvae)

31 May
1 June (Male)
3 June (Female)
4 June
9 June (Male and Female)
10 June (Female)
11 June (Female)
14 June (Female)

8 June (Male)
9 June (9 x Male 1 x Female)
10 June (2 x Male)
13 June (1 x Male)
14 June (1 x Male 1 x Female)
15 June (2 x Male)
20 June (1 x Female)
21 June (1 x Female)
27 June (1 x Female)
28 June (1 x Male)
29 June (1 x Female)

All of the sightings listed above were recorded contemporaneously on the “Great Stag Beetle Hunt” website run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Photos above from top to bottom: These are photos of a recent sighting of a male stag beetle in Tyson Road area that was spotted 28th of May 2009.

Widlife pictures from the area taken during the Summer of 2009

A Gatekeeper resting on a flower just yards away from the proposed development.

The extremely rare Tiger Jersey moth is frequently spotted in the area.

A beautiful Comma taken just yards away from the proposed building site.

Tyson Road proposal defeated: Newsletter written by Cllr John Russell and Cllr Philip Peake for the Forest Hill Society Newsletter.

Photo of the area under threat.

"It doesn’t often happen so when the community comes together and wins a significant victory against over development, we should all take note and learn lessons for the future. When Loromah Estates put forward a planning application to build nine blocks of flats on a back land site behind the Christian Fellowship Centre on Honor Oak Road and to the rear of Tyson Road, local residents refused to accept the odds stacked against them and came out fighting. The Forest Hill Society supported them all the way as did their local councilors, John Russell and Philip Peake. We asked the councillors to explain why this victory matters.

In our short number of years as councillors, we have frequently come up against that bane of local campaigners’ lives: the English planning system. Particularly at Lewisham Council, it is very difficult and rare to be able to defeat a developer’s proposal once it has the support of the Council Planning Officers.

Yet on 31st of March, that’s exactly what we all did at Planning Committee ‘B’ – not just marginally, but entirely: members of the committee voted unanimously to turn down officer advice and reject Loromah Estates’ application to build 74 flats on predominantly ex-garden land between Tyson Road and the Christian Fellowship Center on Honor Oak Road.

The community, Forest Hill Society, and we councillors can all be proud of ourselves. But celebration should be tempered by caution. Draft documents in the council’s new planning policy – the ‘rules’ committee members have to consider – still allocate the site for 80-odd flats. Loromah may not appeal but instead present another plan: it remains to be seen whether any new ideas will genuinely address local people’s concerns.
Now is a useful time to look and see what happened: just why did the residents, the Forest Hill Society and ourselves working together manage to win this one? We can all learn lessons and apply them to future planning applications.

In this case, the developer was his own worst enemy. In an attempt to maximize profit, his team had introduced a fundamental design flaw. All car movements would have had to go underneath the blocks as there was no space for roads elsewhere. And despite extensive use of public relations consultants, it was clear that the development would not feel like a “woodland glade” after most of the trees had been removed and bat-boxes and green/brown roofs had been used as eco-sticking-plaster.

The obvious flaws created a vigorous residents’ campaign. Three-hundred-and-thirty-five objections must be a record for this borough. Led by Andrew Wood, residents did their homework and fought a very informed and highly effective campaign. The secret to their success was not to object saying “we do not like this,” but in properly studying and understanding the Lewisham Council planning policies and the London and national planning frameworks.

Campaigners were then able to argue from a position of knowledge, putting together a coherent argument, based in planning law. This is a position which has to be taken seriously. Backed up by the strength of local feeling, residents, FHS and councillors were able to pull this together into an argument that ultimately won over the committee.

It is a powerful example of what local residents can do when working in partnership with the FHS and ourselves in a common cause. We should be proud of what we have done and ready to start again at a moment’s notice when necessary."

Loromah Estate's third application turned unanimously down by Lewisham Planning Committee the 31st of March 2009.

Photo of the area under threat.

This is how Forest Hill Society summed up the reasons for rejection on their blog the next day:

"Lewisham’s Planning Committee voted to unanimously reject the recommendation of planning officers and refuse a planning application to build 74 flats on a backland site in Forest Hill. The councillors agreed that the proposal put forward by Loromah Estates was over development, poorly designed and could become a magnet for criminal activity.

The local community, supported by Forest Hill Ward councillors, organised a vigorous campaign to oppose this development and appeared in force at last night’s Planning Committee. The Council received about three hundred objections and five petitions, reflecting the strength of local feeling.

The planning application proposed building nine blocks of three to four storeys on land behind the Christian Fellowship Centre on Honor Oak Road and to the rear of Tyson Road. A previous attempt by Loromah to gain permission for a dense housing development here was rejected. This new application featured some superficial modifications and a slight reduction in density but was, to all intents and purposes, the same proposal. Planning officers, who had worked with the developers on this new application, recommended approval. However, in an unusual move, they noted on their report that “a lower density development in this backland location would lead to an improved scheme.”

The Committee quickly decided that the development was indeed too dense for the area. It was also concerned about the heavy loss of mature trees.

The councillors were particularly concerned about the proposed undercroft parking in the development. The councillors believed this would encourage crime and would quickly become littered with waste. Providing security gates, as suggested by the developer, would mean the residents of the furthest block having to drive through three or four sets of locked gates to reach their parking space which was clearly impractical, according to councillors.

The Forest Hill Society praises the decision by the Planning Committee to overturn the planning officers’ recommendation. The Vice Chair of the Society, Michael Abrahams, who spoke on behalf of the local community, pointed out;
“Loromah Estates was proposing a very high density development in a backland site on one of the steepest hills in London. Not surprisingly, the result is a very poor design which has been strongly opposed by the local community.”