5 May – Liz Ruffell’s email to Nick Stanton

From: Liz Ruffell
Date: 5 May 2010 14:58:00 BST
To: Stanton, Nicholas
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

Dear Mr Stanton,

You know full well that the Council has discarded 90% of the objections.  Do you support them or not?

We take it you refuse to disclose your contacts with Sellars.

Regards

Liz

5 May – Nick Stanton’s email to Liz Ruffell

“Stanton, Nicholas” <Nicholas.Stanton@SOUTHWARK.GOV.UK>
Date: 5 May 2010 14:51:34 BST
To: <liz@lordshiva.net>
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

There is no consultation specifically about tall buildings in “bermondsey village”. There has been a consultation about a draft planning framework for a wide area (basically blackfriars rd to tower bridge).

I am sorry if we’re talking at cross purposes. I suspect this is one of the perils of email.

I’m more than happy to meet to discuss your concerns in the next few weeks.

5 May – Liz Ruffell’s email to Nick Stanton

From: Liz Ruffell
Date: 5 May 2010 14:44:49 BST
To: Stanton, Nicholas
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

Dear Mr Stanton,

That doesn’t address our questions at all.

Please can you address the questions set out in our email of 4 May.  For ease I have copied them in below:

  • Please confirm whether or not you still maintain that consultation regarding a policy of tall buildings in Bermondsey Village has been adequate?
  • Please confirm whether or not you support the decision of the Planning Department to disregard the more than 100 objections received after our consultation and insist – notably on the Council’s web site – that they only received 16
  • Please give details of all contacts you have had with Sellar or their agents, employees or representatives with regard to (a) The Shard  and (b) the so-called Three Houses

Regards

Liz

5 May – Nick Stanton’s email to Russell Gray

From: Stanton, Nicholas
Date: 5 May 2010 12:47:11 BST
To: Russell Gray
Cc: Liz Ruffell
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

I am happy to set your mind at rest. The draft spd is designed to facilitate making the area a better place to live in, to work in and to visit.

The sellars proposal would have to be the subject of an entirely separate planning application on which there would be the usual full, open, statutory consultation process.

5 May – Russell Gray’s email to Nick Stanton

From: Russell Gray
Date: 5 May 2010 11:14:41 BST
To: Nicholas Stanton
Cc: Liz Ruffell
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

Mr Stanton

This is progress – but modest.  Seeing no reason why the Council should reject 90% of comments is is a start – but we and those who made the objections would like to know what you would do to help ensure their comments are not rejected.

There is also the question of re-opening consultation so that a much more full airing of such a controversial high-rise plan can take place.  Are you in favour or against?

There is also the important question of how far the SPD has been devised to facilitate Sellar and how far you were involved in that process?

Please respond as soon as possible as this is a matter that some voters regard as critical to their voting intentions.

Regards

Russell Gray

4 May – Nick Stanton’s email to Liz Ruffell

From: Stanton, Nicholas
Date: 4 May 2010 20:01:35 BST
To: Liz Ruffell
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

… Sorry, pressed send too soon (out and about using my blackberry) … So I see no reason why further representations received after the closing date should not be considered when the time comes. Does this help?

4 May Nick Stanton’s email to Liz Ruffell

From: Stanton, Nicholas
Date: 4 May 2010 16:12:38 BST
To: Liz Ruffell
Subject: Re: Tall Buildings Consultation

I dopn’t understand the question I’m araid?

On 4 May 2010, at 10:03, Liz Ruffell wrote:

Dear Mr Stanton,

I refer to the below statement of your position regarding tall buildings in the Bermondsey St Conservation Area and consultation with local people with regard to the SPD that seeks to facilitate such development.

Your view that the SPD has been widely consulted on is at odds with those of everyone else we have spoken to or heard from – including all Parliamentary candidates for this seat.

So that we can inform our members and voters:

Please confirm whether or not you still maintain that consultation regarding a policy of tall buildings in Bermondsey Village has been adequate?

Please confirm whether or not you support the decision of the Planning Department to disregard the more than 100 objections received after our consultation and insist – notably on the Council’s web site – that they only received 16.

Please give details of all contacts you have had with Sellar or their agents, employees or representatives with regard to (a) The Shard  and (b) the so-called Three Houses.

Regards

Liz Ruffell

22 April Nick Stanton to Russell Gray

Get this for arrogance!

Nick Stanton

Thank you for your letter of 20 April 2010. I regret I am unable to attend. However, I think you are conflating, and possibly confusing, two separate points.

Southwark Council has launched a draft planning policy paper to cover the London Bridge and Bankside area. You can see me talking about it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWyCQ2QkUyQ

It’s been widely consulted on and is essentially stage 1 in defining a planning policy for the area.

As you say, the document suggests that St Thomas Street is a suitable place for tall buildings. Since it has Guy’s Tower and the Shard already and is next to a public transport interchange that’s not a terribly astonishing proposition, but of course it’s one we’re interested in getting opinions about.

Separately, the Sellars group are preparing to make a planning application. No planning application has yet been lodged, if and when it is it will be the subject of proper statutory consultation.

I hope this helps.

Cllr Nick Stanton


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27.04.10 Val Shawcross Letter

Dear Gary

Bankside, Borough and London Bridge

I am writing as the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark to object to aspects of the Draft Supplementary Planning document and Opportunity Area Planning Framework for Bankside, Borough and London Bridge.

I attended a meeting at the Tanneries on Bermondsey Street yesterday which was attended by approx 150 members of the public. There was widespread concern with lack of active consultation on this document and the relative absence of public awareness of its potential impact on the area.

Concern focused on the prospects of tall buildings being granted planning consent and being situated in the area near the junction of St Thomas Street and Bermondsey Street. The area on and around Bermondsey Street is characterful and historic. It has growing cultural and environmental value and is a very attractive and a popular place for pedestrians and tourists to visit. There are many four storey Victorian period warehouses and factories that have been restored or have potential for refurbishment.

There is a growing cluster of restaurant businesses and cultural industries. The SPD really throws forward the question of what type of regeneration is suitable for this area. Whilst I believe that tall buildings maybe appropriate for the business sector to the north of the London Bridge railway tracks they will be out of keeping with the area to the South of it and Bermondsey Street and St Thomas Street.

I believe the interests of the local community and the many employees and visitors in the wider London Bridge area would be best served by refurbishing and regenerating the existing characterful building stock and infilling on derelict brownfield sites with buildings in keeping with the height and historical character of the area (such as the building at 40 Bermondsey Street – which provides modern offices in an unobtrusive style).

I would also object to the demolition of the existing flats and council homes on Snowfields and any intensification of development which may cause tenants and residents in the surrounding estates (Leather Market estates and Guinness estates) to be displaced.

I strongly suggest that Southwark Council makes fundamental changes to the draft SPD and aims to preserve the character of the area, which is currently highlighted in the draft SPD as suitable for tall buildings. In my view it is not. A full re-consultation should be triggered by a dramatic revision of the document as currently presented.

I also suggest that the Borough’s Conservation Officer looks at the Victorian warehouse (Vinegar Yard) situated on the north side of Snowfields to assess whether it may be appropriate for local listing.

Yours sincerely

Valerie Shawcross AM
Labour Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark


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5 May – Russell Gray’s email to Simon Hughes

Dear Mr Hughes

Your assistant’s email of yesterday does help clarify your position.  I have also spoken to her about your slightly confusing reference in your letter of 30 April to your concern that ‘poorly designed’ tall buildings intruding into a conservation area would change its character.  This obviously invites the conclusion that you think there might be a place for ‘well designed’ tall buildings in Bermondsey Village and the conservation area.  Magali, however, tells me that what you meant by poorly designed tall buildings was ones for which there was no appetite among local people.

Assuming this is a reasonable interpretation of your position when you refer to design quality, it is the clarification we were seeking.

We also now take your position to be that you will support calls for a re-consultation on the creation of a tall building zone in particular and the local SPD in general.

I trust this does not misrepresent you.  If you do not think it does please do not feel obliged to reply as you are obviously stretched by election work presently.

Magali also asked for clarification of our interests and involvement in the local area.  I talked her though it in a little more detail but in brief:

I have lived in the area for 25 years.  I bought a derelict railwayman’s house in Pages Walk in 1985 and my family have lived there ever since it’s restoration was complete..

In 1993 my company bought derelict property in Bermondsey Street – Globe House and The Tanneries.  Since then we have been involved in an exacting and extended programme of restoration of these buildings and their sites.  In this time we have establish a local fine artists studio group and gallery, a Yoga Studio and what is now a lively complex of commercial premises for small and medium sized businesses in the creative industries.

BSTOWERS is a single focus blog aimed at raising awareness and ensuring proper consultation over controversial high-rise proposals by SouthwarK Council for Bermondsey Village.

I look forward to welcoming you to one of our local consultation meetings.

Regards

Russell Gray

4 May – Magali Tang’s email (on behalf of Simon Hughes) to Russell Gray

Dear Russell

Thank you for your e-mail.  Having looked again at Simon’s letter it does appear to cover all the issues which you have raised. Briefly, once again, Simon’s position is as follows.

He stated very clearly in his letter that the consultation should be re-opened, and he will absolutely make sure that all objections are taken into account.  He will be very happy to meet with council officers and the Executive Member responsible for Regeneration to discuss residents’ concerns after the election, as long as he is re-elected.  Planning rules around conservation areas are very clear, and Simon would make sure those are enforced.

I understand that, as yet, no formal planning application has been made.  If Simon is re-elected, he will make his views clear on the SPD in due course, as he regularly does in the process of the development of local plans.  He has always worked to ensure that conservation areas retain their character.  If re-elected, Simon’s job will be to represent the views of his constituents and to make sure those views are heard.  He will engage with established tenants and residents’ groups to make sure that any proposals affecting the area have the widespread support of the local community.  There were no objections against the Shard of Glass from the community, to his recollection, and I know Simon is keen that the same good relationships are established between developers and the local community, as he has always done.

Members of Parliament do not have a formal influence in planning decisions – those are the responsibility of local councillors. The role of a Member of Parliament is not about personal views.  It is the views of all local residents which matter and Simon will make sure he works with local councillors to ensure that residents’ views are fully considered before any decisions are made.  He has been the Member of Parliament for this area for over 27 years and has always worked hard to make sure the views of the local community are heard and taken into account in any local and national decisions which might affect them.

I hope this clarifies Simon’s position and reassures you that he takes the concerns of local residents on this issue very seriously.

I would be grateful if you could set out what your commercial interests are in the area, and make those public on www.bstowers.com too.

Many thanks and best regards

Magali
On behalf of Simon Hughes

1 May – Russell Gray’s email to Magali Tang (on behalf of Simon Hughes)

Thank you for this Magali.

It appears to be rather more guarded in its supportive of local opinion than the positions taken by his main Parliamentary election rivals.

Mr Hughes support for the demands of local people to be consulted on the policy of allowing tall buildings in particular locations (the SPD) appears to be ambiguous.  As he knows very well there are statutory obligations to consult on specific planning application.  That is not the present issue.  He needs to clarify his position on calling for the Council to acknowledge properly – including correction of the record of objections that appears on their web site – the objections already received and on a genuine consultation process with proper publicity for the future.  On this he has chosen to hide behind someone else’s opinion (The Executive Member for Regeneration).

There is also a reference to ‘poorly designed’ tall buildings that suggests that perhaps he believes there is a place for well designed tower blocks in the conservation area.  There is no reason to confine ourselves to abstracts here.  On our site, BSTOWERS.COM Mr Hughes can see for himself what the Sellar proposal for Bermondsey Street looks like (under ‘The Issue’ go to ‘How it would look’).  Is this in Mr Hughes’ opinion good or bad design? Please may we have urgent clarification on this to post on our site and billboards.

Regards

Russell Gray

30 April – Simon Hughes Letter

22 April – The holding position – considered comments to follow

This letter from Simon Hughes came in response to our invitation to the public meeting held on 22 April.  We are still waiting for him to state his position.

He has been presented with a collection of correspondence and knows precisely what the true position of the planners is.  He knows that they have chosen to disregard 90% of objections.  He knows that more than 60 people have written letters calling for proper consultation.  Presumably he now knows that where he writes ‘I understand the SPD is currently open to consultation’ he was entirely wrong.  Who misled him?

Come on Simon.  Lets have your position.


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